Sergei Lavrov
Sergei LavrovFlash 90

Russia on Friday announced it would expel 10 US diplomats and take other retaliatory moves in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by US President Joe Biden a day earlier, The Associated Press reports.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Moscow will add eight US officials to its sanctions list and move to restrict and stop the activities of US nongovernment organizations from interfering in Russia’s politics.

He said the Kremlin suggested that US Ambassador John Sullivan follow the example of his Russian counterpart and head home for consultations.

The moves follow the sanctions on Russia announced this week by the Biden administration.

Lavrov noted that while Russia could take “painful measures” against American business interests in Russia, it wouldn’t immediately move to do that

The US on Thursday ordered 10 Russian diplomats expelled, targeted dozens of companies and people, and imposed new curbs on Russia’s ability to borrow money.

Biden later said that he is “prepared to take further actions” if Russia continues to interfere in US democracy.

“I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so, I chose to be proportionate,” Biden said of the measures, adding that he did not want to “kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.”

The US intelligence community said in a landmark report last month that the Russian government meddled in the 2020 election with an influence campaign "denigrating" President Joe Biden and "supporting" former President Donald Trump.

In mid-December it was reported that a group of hackers backed by a “foreign government” stole information from the US Treasury Department and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Subsequently it was revealed that the attack also targeted the US Department of Homeland Security.

US intelligence later said that Russia was likely behind those hacking attacks.

Russia has long brushed off allegations of meddling in US elections, human rights abuses, cyberattacks as well as reports of placing bounties on US troops serving in Afghanistan.

Moscow described Biden’s moves on Thursday as a blow to bilateral relations and vowed to impose swift retaliatory measures.

The Kremlin also blamed the United States for weakening the diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)