Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the list will be consulted to limit the number of local staff working at foreign embassies, diplomatic missions or agencies of said countries. 

The inclusion of Poland, one of the US’s closest allies in the region with notoriously tense relations with Russia, did not come as a surprise. The fact that the Czech Republic also made the list, however, has largely been linked to the events of the past few weeks and the revelation of Moscow’s alleged role in the deadly explosion of an ammunition storage depot in 2014. The diplomatic dispute that ensued led to the expulsion of some 20 Czech diplomats and over 70 Russian embassy staff. A recent study found that a majority of the Czech population perceived Russia as a serious security threat to their country.
Undeterred, many have taken their country’s inclusion on Russia’s “black list” as a badge of honour. “It’s like a list of recognition of which countries’ efforts are most efficient in containment and isolation of the Kremlin’s aggressive behaviour,” tweeted Linas Linkevičius, a former Defence and Foreign Minister for Lithuania.