Deepening rift, U.S. sharply curtails visa services in Russian Federation

Deepening rift, U.S. sharply curtails visa services in Russian Federation”

Nonimmigrant visas will only be issued in Moscow, not at consulates in St. Petersburg, .

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that a USA decision to sharply scale back its visa services in Russia was an attempt to stir up ill-feeling among ordinary Russians against the authorities.

Almost a quarter of a million Russian tourists visited the US last year, according to Russian tourism officials.

"Russia's decision to reduce the United States' diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia's seriousness about pursuing better relations". Moscow responded with the order for the USA to cut its embassy staff.

These restrictive measures were imposed by Moscow in response to the closure of Russian diplomatic compounds last December and the law specifying tougher sanctions against Russia.

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 United States decision to restrict the visa issuing process to Russian citizens.

On Monday Russian officials said that the decision was the result of political wrangling in Washington and presented Moscow as the defender of the rights of ordinary citizens. "Washington's actions are aimed at a deterioration of U.S. -Russia relations". However, the necessary drastic reduction in staff is expected to slow down the embassy's work and lead to a reduction in some practical bilateral exchanges. It would be cancelling an unspecified number of scheduled appointments and asking applicants to reschedule, it said in a statement. One of these consulates is in Vladivostok, a city in Russia's far east that's nearly 3,000 miles and an eight-hour flight from Moscow.

In response, President Vladimir Putin ordered the U.S. Embassy to cut 755 positions in the country - roughly two-thirds - by September 1.

"These are generally required by worldwide agreements, diplomatic practice, or customary global law", it said.

"That is why, the students who wanted to study exactly in the United States and turned to us at the end of spring, failed to be in time for these programs in July-August", she added.

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