Russian President Vladimir Putin signs law to limit staff at embassies and agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the board of trustees of the Russian Geographical Society via a video conference call in Moscow, Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday to limit the number of local staff working at foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies, and ordered the government to draw up a list of “unfriendly” states that will be subject to the restrictions.

The law, published on the Kremlin website on Friday, authorises the government to restrict, or even ban outright, employment contracts with “state bodies and state institutions of foreign states committing unfriendly acts against the Russian Federation”.

The bill comes amid an escalating diplomatic row between Russia and the Czech Republic that led both sides to expel diplomats, with several other European countries following suit. The Czechs accused Moscow last week of a role in explosions at an arms depot in 2014, which Russia denies.

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