US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan complained about difficulties in obtaining Russian visas by Americans to work at the US Embassy. RIA Novosti reports.
The diplomat noted that this issue was separately raised at the meeting of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden in Geneva. “This is the main issue that we need to resolve immediately,” he added. At the same time, Sullivan agreed that the slow issuance of visas “became a problem for both parties.”
Sullivan pointed out that the problem is that the Americans could replace the Russians who previously worked in the embassy and were deprived of such an opportunity.
The ban by the Russian authorities on the admission of compatriots to work at the American embassy is associated with the inclusion of the United States in the list of unfriendly countries. Subsequently, the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov assessed the possibility of excluding the United States from this list, saying that “at the moment there is no reason for this.”
At the same time, already on May 12, the US Embassy in Moscow stopped issuing visas. Now the diplomatic mission works only for American citizens.
In December 2020, the United States also decided to close its consulates in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. The State Department explained that such measures are related to the optimization of the work of the American diplomatic mission. The consulate in Vladivostok was temporarily closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in Yekaterinburg, from April 1, it stopped issuing visas to Russians and serving American citizens.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov previously indicated that the United States deliberately curtailed visa services for Russians in an effort to inflame nervousness and discontent in Russia. He recalled that even before Moscow introduced restrictions against American diplomatic missions, the United States had already frozen the work of consular offices in the country, thereby effectively stopping the issuance of visas to Russian citizens.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, believes that the United States itself is engaged in the destruction of its consular service in Moscow. She stressed that Washington has been working in this direction for several years. “The American partners do this solely from their own ideas about visa policy. Since the staff of the US consular offices is formed exclusively by the American side, and not by the Russian side, ”explained Zakharova.
In 2018, US officials infiltrated the residence of the Russian Consul General in Seattle, Washington and lowered the Russian tricolor. The Foreign Ministry called the incident a “state raider seizure.” The State Department said that the actions of the American authorities “are not a seizure, but a firm and legitimate response to the continuing outrageous behavior of Russia.”
In 2017, Russian flags were torn from the buildings of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and the trade mission in Washington. According to the US, these facilities are deprived of diplomatic immunity. Moscow, in turn, called the incident an arbitrariness and declared the unacceptability of such actions, since the Consulate General, despite the closure, is still the property of Russia.