Russia’s government has explicitly placed five EU countries, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Slovenia and Slovakia, on its list of “unfriendly states” in response to the sanctions imposed by the West.
The list already included the European Union as a whole.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Moscow’s decision a further step to limit contact with these countries. The demarche mainly boils down to restrictions on the ability of their diplomatic missions in Moscow to employ Russian staff.
Slovenia and Croatia are no longer allowed to employ Russian citizens, while concrete quotas have been set for the other countries. Additional restrictions remain possible, Peskov said.
The reason for the move is these countries’ “unfriendly policy” towards Russia, he continued, without giving further details.
Following a decree by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s government began drawing up a list of “unfriendly States” last year. The US and the Czech Republic were the first countries to be blacklisted, but after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, other countries that supported sanctions against Moscow were added to the list.
One consequence was that Russia’s financial obligations to “unfriendly states” would be settled only in rubles. Later, Putin also ordered that customers in the EU should pay for Russian gas, for example, in rubles – and no longer in dollars or euros.