MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia plans to announce its withdrawal soon from a post-Cold War agreement with the United States that eased restrictions on diplomats travelling around each other’s countries, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
The 1992 memorandum of understanding on “open lands”, which was signed after the Soviet breakup, agreed to do away with “closed” areas on each other’s territories and allow each other’s diplomats to travel without seeking permission.
“A government order denouncing Russia’s memorandum on open lands is on its way,” Sergei Ryabkov, the official, was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flagged the move in April as part of Moscow’s retaliatory package against Washington after the United States expelled 10 Russian diplomats over alleged election interference and other malign actions.
Russia’s ties with the West are acutely strained over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, military movements near Ukraine, as well as allegations of Russian hacking as well as other issues.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden are due to meet for a summit in Geneva later this month.
On Monday, Ryabkov said Russia would send what he described as “uncomfortable” signals to the United States in the coming days.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)