MOSCOW — The U.S. Embassy at Moscow declared Monday that it would temporarily stop devoting all nonimmigrant visas in Russia and seriously curtail visa surgeries as it slashes its employees to abide by the most recent salvo from Washington’s diplomatic standoff with Moscow.
The conclusion comes after Russia required that the U.S. assignment in the nation reduce its employees from over 1,200 workers to 455, exactly the exact same dimension as the Russian diplomatic mission in the USA. The American Embassy’s statement will probably mean delays for its thousands and thousands of Russians who apply for nonimmigrant visas into the United States annually.
“Russia’s decision to decrease the United States’ diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia’s seriousness of pursuing greater connections,” U.S. Mission to Russia, the collective title for Western diplomatic and administration employees in Russia, said in a statement issued to the embassy’s site. “We’ll maintain adequate staff to perform fundamental elements of the mission.”
The bond, which also sparked stress that Russia could retaliate, is the most recent escalation between Moscow and Washington heading back into the alleged Russian hacking effort throughout the 2016 presidential elections.
Mature Russian lawmakers in the Duma and the Federation Council on Monday indicated a “mirror” reaction that may affect Americans hunting Russian visas. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated he thought that by slowing the visa procedure the usa might be attempting to “provoke discontent of Russian citizens against the activities of the Russian authorities,” however Lavrov also seemed to rule out a similar reaction by the Russian authorities.
“As for our countermeasures, as I’ve mentioned, we ought to have a better look at the choices which the Americans have declared now,” Lavrov said in a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at Moscow. “We will see. I can only say 1 thing: We will not take it out on American citizens.”
Officially, Moscow’s requirement that the U.S. Mission to Russia cut off its employees was in retaliation for its Obama government’s decision to expel dozens of Russian diplomats in December. However, the decision came soon after the House and Senate accepted the newest round of wide, anti-Russian sanctions, additional cooling connections despite the obvious connection between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Having a Sept. 1 deadline to reduce over 750 staff places looming, the embassy announced on Monday that it could suspend all nonimmigrant visa interviews and applications until afterward, and that then it might suspend U.S. visa interviews in the American consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok — efficiently forcing Russians throughout the huge country to go to Moscow to get a U.S. visa.
By contrast, the Russian authorities allowed under 95,000 nonimmigrant visas, nearly all them for vacationers.