Russia has put the U.S. on its list of "unfriendly" states, Russian news agency TASS reported on Monday, quoting Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the Rossiya-1 TV channel. The move comes amid an escalating diplomatic row between Russia and several European countries.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law 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 whole story began with another wave of unfriendly U.S. steps," TASS quoted Zakharova as saying on Monday.
"Naturally, the U.S. is on this list. You will find out about the other states as soon as the government’s decree is published and the respective list emerges", she said.
"These are not aggressive steps by our country, this is a response and protection of our country from hostile and unfriendly steps by those, who are preoccupied about us, and those who are somehow trying to halt our development: through the containment policy and through isolation attempts", Zakharova noted explained.