Because You Cut Our Staff, We're Suspending Visa Services, US Tells Russia

Saul Bowman
August 22, 2017

The move comes after Russian Federation retaliated last month against U.S. Congressional approval of fresh American sanctions, ordering Washington to cut its diplomatic presence in Russian Federation by 755 people. Russian Federation also repossessed a warehouse and a resort complex in Moscow used by USA diplomatic staff.

Non-immigrant visas are issued to travelers who want to visit the USA temporarily, as opposed to applying for permanent residency in the country.

21 de agosto de 2017, 12:10Moscow, Aug 21 (Prensa Latina) The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said today that his government will take the necessary measures after checking the U.S. decision to restrict the visa issuing process to Russian citizens. Visas will not be issued by the consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

Lavrov believes that the visa decision was made to worsen Russian citizens" attitude toward the authorities, and added the move resembled the logic of the masterminds of the "color revolutions, ' as well as "the purest form of the inertia of the Obama administration".

Beginning Monday, it would be cancelling a number of appointments and asking applicants to reschedule.

"Russia is in conflict with forces who draw on sanctions, who want a confrontation with our country, but we don't have a conflict with American society", Alexei Pushkov, a Federation Council member and a frequent commentator on foreign affairs, was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency. In written comments to the Moscow Times, the International Visa Center said the announcement meant the outcomes of 19 applications were now up in the air.

Outside the US consulate in Yekaterinburg, in the Ural mountains, a Reuters reporter saw a man unsuccessfully pleading with staff to accept his visa documents a day early. This was itself a tit-for-tat response to USA sanctions brought against Russian Federation for its alleged cyberhacking and military involvements in Ukraine and Syria.

The U.S. Embassy in Russian Federation said Moscow's decision to slash its staff called into question Russia's sincerity about pursuing better relations.

Earlier this month, Russia ordered the cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, or by two-thirds, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and for its aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Last month, Congress imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Russian Federation for its meddling in elections and its aggressive behavior toward neighboring countries.

Outside of the Russian capital, at the consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok, visa operations would remain suspended indefinitely, the U.S. Mission said in a statement.

They are also looking into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.

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