Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on countermeasures against countries that take “unfriendly” actions towards Russia as a diplomatic row escalates between Moscow and some European states.
Putin signed the law on Friday to limit the number of local staff working at foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies, and tasked the government with providing a list of “unfriendly” foreign states that would be subject to the restrictions.
The law, published on the Kremlin website, authorizes Moscow to restrict or even ban employment contracts with “state bodies and state institutions of foreign states committing unfriendly acts against the Russian Federation.”
“Labor contracts with individuals in excess of the number set by the government that were signed before the commencement day of this decree are to be terminated,” the document said, adding that the restrictions “are not applicable to nationals of unfriendly states arriving from such states as employees of diplomatic missions, consular institutions and offices of government institutions of corresponding unfriendly foreign states.”
The decree, as the website said, comes into force from the day of its official publication and will be valid until these countermeasures are cancelled.
The bill comes amid growing diplomatic tensions between Russia and Western-aligned governments in central and eastern Europe.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that it had informed Polish Ambassador to Moscow Krzysztof Krajewski that five employees of the embassy of Poland had been declared persona non grata and would have until May 15 to leave the country.
The ministry added that the measure came in response to Poland’s April 15 decision to expel three Russian diplomats over the allegation that they had been involved in “activities to the detriment” of the NATO member state.