Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
Russia's ties with the West have been strained lately
Russia on Friday officially designated the US and Czech Republic as 'unfriendly' states. This move has come amid rising tensions between Russia and the West.
The Russian government released a list of "unfriendly states" that now includes the US and the Czech Republic.
The Czech embassy will be allowed to employ no more than 19 Russian nationals and the US embassy none at all, Moscow said.
Tensions between Russia and the US have been high from the time the US held it accountable for interference in US elections and hacking of US government departments and agencies. The US expelled some Russian diplomats last month.
Czech Republic has also taken a hard stand against Russia in recent weeks. Last month, it expelled Russian diplomats and accused Russia of having been involved in an explosion at a Czech ammunition dump.
Russia's ties with the West were also strained during its military build-up along its border with Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to respond to what he said was the persecution of Moscow-friendly politicians in Ukraine, accusing the West of turning a blind eye to Kiev's political "clean-up".
With tensions between Moscow and Kiev high, Ukraine this week placed Putin's top ally Viktor Medvedchuk under house arrest on suspicion of high treason.
(With inputs from agencies)