Russia to ban entrance of foreign nationals from US and allies

Russia's Sergey Lavrov said a presidential decree is in the works as retaliation for the United States' "illegitimate sanctions."

 Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attend the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020 (photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)
Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attend the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020
(photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)

Russia is drafting a presidential decree that will ban the entrance of foreign nationals from countries deemed "unfriendly" to Russia, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

Lavrov said Moscow is focusing its diplomatic attention on developing measures against the United States and its allies following the barrage of economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The foreign minister stressed these actions are being taken as a response to the US' "unfriendly actions," citing "illegitimate sanctions" that "infringe on the rights of Russian entities and citizens."

"A draft presidential decree is currently being developed on retaliatory visa measures in connection with the unfriendly actions of a number of foreign states," Lavrov said in a meeting of Russia's ruling party, United Russia, on international cooperation. 

The visa measures will introduce several restrictions preventing entry to Russian territory, the foreign minister stated.

 A passenger looks at a departures board at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER) A passenger looks at a departures board at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Meanwhile, Russia has continued expelling NATO members' diplomats as three Slovakian representatives were declared persona non grata by the Russian foreign ministry. Later on Monday, North Macedonia announced it has expelled five Russian diplomats from the Balkan state. 

Also on Monday, Lavrov called for a meeting between Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart "once the two sides are closer to agreeing on key issues."

Speaking to Serbian media outlets, Lavrov added that any meeting between Putin and Zelenskiy to exchange views on the conflict right now would be counter-productive. Talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are set to resume on Monday in Turkey.