US Embassy In Russia Suspends Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas

22 August, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry during a press conference following a meeting of a delegation of the ministerial contact group of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Palesti

President Vladimir Putin's demand for the U.S.to cut 755 staff from its embassy and consulates by September 1 "calls into question Russia's seriousness about pursuing better relations", it said.

A USA embassy statement said non-immigrant visas would no longer be issued at the three United States consulates in Russian Federation - only at the Moscow embassy. The cuts are likely to affect thousands of Russians who visit the USA every year for tourism, business, and academic programs.

Trump signed the legislation earlier this month.

Last month Moscow told the USA to cut 755 of its diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.

Existing appointments for the nine-day period will be cancelled and applicants will be provided with instructions to reschedule, it added.

It said services would be resumed on Sept 1, but would be offered "on a greatly reduced scale". 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. No visas will be processed until September 1, when all applicants will be required to schedule an interview in the Moscow embassy only.

The visa cuts are the latest in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row that began past year. As part of that response, the US took back two compounds used by the Russians, one in NY and one on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

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Russian Federation didn't immediately respond, waiting to see if Trump would be able to strike a more conciliatory tone.

President Vladimir Putin, reacting to new sanctions imposed by the US Congress which President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law, last month ordered Washington to cut diplomatic and technical staff in Russian Federation by 755 people, or by about 60 percent, by Sept 1.

"We will maintain sufficient staff to carry out essential elements of our mission", the embassy added.

Mr Lavrov's reference to "colour revolutions" expressed the Kremlin's belief that USA meddling fuelled Georgia's Rose Revolution in 2003 and Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004.

"The first impression is that the American authors of these decisions have come up with another attempt to stir up discontent among Russian citizens about the actions of the Russian authorities", Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow on Monday.

"The first impression is the U.S. authors of these decisions have plotted another attempt at stirring up resentment among Russian citizens regarding decisions by the Russian authorities", TASS news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as saying.

He said the USA visa move had a "political overtone" and that Moscow would consider how best to respond.

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