“All non-immigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on August 23. Operations will resume in Moscow on September 1; visa operations at the US consulates will remain suspended indefinitely,” an embassy statement said.
It said all scheduled appointments for visa applicants would be
Russia last month slashed the US diplomatic staff in the country by 755 employees to 455 — the same number Moscow has in the United States — in a retaliatory move against new sanctions passed by the US congress.
“Russia’s decision to reduce the United States’ diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia’s seriousness about pursuing better relations,” the embassy statement said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued that “the real reason” for curbing visa operations is not lack of staff however but “an attempt to provoke discontent among Russian citizens over the actions of the Russian government.”
Asked at a news conference about Moscow’s potential reaction to the move, Lavrov added that Russia “will not be taking out our anger on American citizens.”
The United States has three consulates in Russia, in Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg in the Urals and Vladivostok in the far east. Now those wanting to visit the US face
The US embassy in Moscow will also cease issuing visas to citizens of Belarus — which does not have a US embassy — and they will now be redirected to Kiev,
“Capacity for interviews in the future will be greatly reduced because we have had to greatly reduce our staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement,” it said.
“We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced,” it said.
Washington issued about 190,000 visas to Russians in 2016, according to the US State Department figures. DM
Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month
An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.
Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.
You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.
So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.
"I feel like we should stop calling feminists 'feminists' and just start calling people who aren't feminist 'sexist' – and then everyone else is just human." ~ Maisie Williams