United States halts non-immigrant visas in Russian Federation as diplomatic standoff deepens


The United States began to scale back its visa services in Russian Federation on Monday, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow three weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered Washington to more than halve its embassy and consular staff.

The US embassy on Monday declared that it was suspending the issuing of non-immigrant visas to Russian citizens starting from August 23.

However, the embassy clarified nonimmigrant operations would resume at its Moscow office on September 1, but remain suspended at its consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladisvostok indefinitely.

Russians will face problems getting USA visas until bilateral relations between the two countries are normalised, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia (AmCham), Alexis Rodzianko has said.

The United States Embassy in Moscow announced Monday it would temporarily stop issuing all non-immigrant visas in Russian Federation and then severely curtail visa operations as it slashes its staff to comply with the latest salvo in Washington's diplomatic standoff with Moscow.

Russian officials on Monday took a swipe at their American counterparts following a USA visa freeze, accusing Washington of pushing for regime change in Moscow.

It would be cancelling an unspecified number of scheduled appointments and asking applicants to reschedule, it said in a statement.

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In December 2016, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled and two retreats in NY and Maryland used by Russian diplomats were closed by the Obama administration over accusations of alleged Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election. Moscow responded with the order for the United States to cut its embassy staff.

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.

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.

"The decision is politically motivated", he told a press conference in Moscow.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow. "Washington's actions are aimed at a deterioration of U.S. -Russia relations".

"The initiative of further deterioration - whether it is the expulsion of the Russian diplomats, or the "amputation" of our diplomatic property or limitation of places issuing visas - always comes from the United States side, " the official added.