Russia isn’t expected to waste any time in retaliating to fresh sanctions imposed by President Obama’s administration, potentially resulting in a quid pro quo game of diplomatic punishment.
Moscow appears to have already taken action. CNN reported late on Thursday that Russian authorities ordered the shutdown of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, which primarily serves children of Western embassy personnel, as well as the closure of a U.S. embassy vacation house in Serebryany Bor, near Moscow.
The Russian embassy in Singapore told CNBC that it was not placed to comment on the CNN report.
The closure of an international school would be unusual for Moscow, but not impossible, Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told CNBC on Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova already warned of payback after the White House penalized Moscow for alleged interference in the U.S. 2016 election.
“We can only add that if Washington takes new hostile steps, it will receive an answer. This applies to any actions against Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, which will immediately backfire at U.S. diplomats in Russia. The Obama administration probably does not care at all about the future of bilateral relations, but history will hardly forgive it for this après-nous-le-deluge attitude,” she said in an official statement.
Washington sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies, four officers of its largest intelligence agency, GRU, and three companies that supported GRU’s operations on Thursday. Obama also expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland.
Going forward, Paal expects the U.S.-Russian conflict to play out in a more subtle fashion.
“The U.S. is going to mete out sanctions quietly without publicity and Russia will be watching closely how to react. So we may not necessarily see the exchange in the headlines, it’s going to be more of a ‘Spy vs. Spy’ situation.”