Moscow, Aug 21 (IANS) The US embassy in Russia said on Monday that it will suspend all non-immigrant visa operations across the country for nine days starting Wednesday due to the Russian government-imposed cap on US diplomatic personnel in Russia.
“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,” Xinhua news agency cited the US embassy as saying in a statement.
Existing appointments for the nine-day period will be cancelled and applicants will be provided with instructions to reschedule, it added.
The US visa freeze aims to “provoke dissatisfaction of our citizens with the activities of the Russian authorities,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on the US decision.
It is the logic of those who organise “Colour Revolutions” and it is a clear consequence of the policy of the (former President Barack) Obama administration, Lavrov said at a news briefing.
Lavrov said Russia will study the US embassy statement in detail but Russia will not take it out on US citizens.
Moscow in July demanded that Washington cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people to 455 by September 1 and seized a US warehouse and a recreational compound in the country in retaliation for Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions.
In December 2016, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled and two retreats in New York and Maryland used by Russian diplomats were closed by the Obama administration over accusations of alleged Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election.
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