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A national flag flown outside the U.S. Embassy on Novinsky Boulevard in central Moscow. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States has been forced to lay off more than 180 local employees and contractors at its embassy in Moscow and two consulates, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday.

Driving the news: "Starting in August, the Russian government is prohibiting the United States from retaining, hiring, or contracting Russian or third-country staff, except our guard force," Blinken said in a statement.

  • "We are deeply saddened that this action will force us to let go of 182 local employees and dozens of contractors at our diplomatic facilities in Moscow, Vladivostok, and Yekaterinburg."
  • "These unfortunate measures will severely impact the U.S. mission to Russia’s operations, potentially including the safety of our personnel as well as our ability to engage in diplomacy with the Russian government," he noted.
  • Blinken said the United States regrets the directive's impact on workers but will adhere in order to pursue a "predictable and stable relationship with Russia."

The big picture: After the United States discharged some Russian diplomats earlier this year, the Russian government barred non-Americans from working at the United States' three diplomatic missions, the AP reports.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Russia left out of White House's 30-country ransomware summit

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russia is not one of the 30 countries invited to this week's virtual counter-ransomware summit hosted by the White House, where the U.S. and its partners will discuss ways to crack down on global cybercriminal networks, according to a senior Biden administration official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is seeking to form an international coalition to stop ransomware attacks without having to rely on the Russian government, which has been accused of harboring cyber gangs.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.