Diplomatic guerrilla war between US and Russia
The diplomatic imbroglio between the US and Russia continues. On Thursday the US State Department ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco as well as two trade missions. Moscow, meanwhile, has named hardliner Anatoly Antonov as new ambassador to the US. For commentators everything points to worsening relations between the former Cold War rivals.
Moscow has no more illusions
On the Russian side the nomination of the new ambassador is a sign that the country is preparing for a prolonged confrontation with Washington, Magyar Nemzet concludes:
“The 62-year-old Anatoli Antonov is a graduate of the tough Soviet diplomatic school. … Not for nothing are the US media describing him as hardliner, a 'bull terrier'. … With Antonov Russian diplomats will push the country's interests even more aggressively in Washington. Antonov is a man who obeys the Kremlin's every demand. … His appointment is an indication that the Kremlin has no more illusions about Russian-American relations: it expects the current confrontation to continue and to lead to deep tensions between the two major powers.”
An eye for an eye
Trump is reacting to Putin's expulsion in July of 755 US diplomats, but it wasn't Moscow that started the diplomat war, La Stampa points out:
“Putin was responding to the order Barack Obama gave in December 2016 for the expulsion of 35 Moscow diplomats. An act of reprisal in the cyberwar which, according to the CIA, FBI and NSA, was started by the Russian secret services to influence the race for the White House in 2016. Back then Putin generously refrained from taking retaliatory measures because he was counting on Trump being a more amenable dialogue partner. … But not long afterwards Trump was under fire over the Russia scandal and Congress forced him to approve new sanctions against Russia. … There are too many interests and intrigues in play here for the two presidents to usher in a détente phase.”