Russian Ambassador denies US claims that Moscow interferes with the work of consular offices

MOSCOW, July 3. / TASS /. Russia does not interfere with the work of the US consular offices, such statements by Washington are false. This was stated on Saturday by the Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov on the air of the YouTube channel “Soloviev Live“.

“Well, of course, the Americans have now said that the Russians themselves have created problems in order to issue visas to Russians who would like to go to the United States of America. But this is nonsense. I want to say on your YouTube channel officially, from I have not a single request from my American colleagues asking me to issue a visa to an employee of the United States consular office in Russia, “he said.

“As for the Russian consular offices – and we have three of them: in Washington, Houston and New York – we are ready to do this [выдаче виз гражданам США для посещения РФ] ready. By the way, we did not close, and we did everything that needed to be done, “Antonov added.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that all categories of Russian citizens are experiencing “the inadequacy of the American visa policy.” At the same time, Russian visas for US citizens were issued without delay.

On April 30, 2021, the US Embassy announced that from May 12 it will reduce the number of consular services provided, including suspending the consideration of documents for visas that are not intended for diplomatic travel. They explained that the reduction of services is necessary in connection with the decision of the Russian authorities to prohibit diplomatic missions from hiring foreigners. Later, the start of the execution of this decision was postponed until July 16.

Stabilization of Russian-American relations

Antonov said that there is a basis for stabilizing Russian-American relations; the Russian-US summit in Geneva showed positive signals and tonality.

The diplomat stressed that his task is “to continue to defend national interests, while trying to stabilize Russian-American relations.” “It seems to me that there is a basis for this. In particular, of course, this is a positive spirit, let me say so, Geneva, a positive tone, positive signals that I personally saw and heard during a conversation between our two presidents,” he said …

At the same time, the ambassador pointed out that it would be rash to say that some cardinal shifts in Russian-American relations have already begun. “Today is the 11th day that I am in the United States. We are trying to create a situation in which it would be difficult to forget what our presidents spoke about. We are trying today to implement practical deeds, those understandings that, as it seemed to me, existed, were demonstrated by our leaders. As for us, we are ready for this, “Antonov emphasized.

The diplomat also said that Washington did not satisfy all of his requests for meetings after returning to his workplace, which is why he was unable to fulfill some of the instructions of the Russian diplomatic service. “I want to tell you that I managed to hold several meetings in the White House, in the State Department. At the same time, I’ll tell you that not all of my requests were satisfied, I could not fulfill some instructions from the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because, as in the previous time, they just didn’t accept me. They sent me to minor officials in the Russian department, which, of course, I refused, ”he said.

He also noted the effective work of the Russian Embassy during his absence in Washington and thanked his colleagues for the work.

The policy of pressure on the Russian Federation

In addition, Antonov believes that the American authorities will continue the policy of pressure on the Russian Federation, in particular, on the issue of human rights.

“No one in Geneva (talking about the Russian-American summit held in Geneva on June 16), neither before Geneva, nor after Geneva said that US policy towards Russia is a policy of containment, – [что] it will be changed. It is obvious to me that the policy of pressure on us will continue. It is obvious to me that the human rights issue will be one of the central irritants in Russian-American relations, “he said.

“This sanction ship was launched much earlier, it goes by itself, because in Congress [США], in fact, [сформировался] consensus on toughness towards our country. When I returned [в Вашингтон после консультаций в Москве], I immediately sent requests to the Congress with a request to meet, talk about how we can live further, I, of course, would very much like to restore inter-parliamentary ties . However, in response, I heard “no” or impolite silence, generally the absence of any answer, “the diplomat said.

Antonov recalled that the current US administration has repeatedly stated that the policy of sanctions against the Russian Federation will continue. “At the same time, colleagues [в Вашингтоне] assumed the right to determine where we are right, where we are wrong. They took upon themselves the right to be a judge and executor in this illusory judge in relation to the Russian Federation. In some places, there are gaps, in these gaps we are trying to find something positive and on this basis try to move forward, try to develop those positive moments that obviously bring us closer to the Americans, “the ambassador summed up.

Prisoner exchange

Antonov said that the Russian Federation and the United States are “mentally working” on the exchange of Russian prisoners who are in custody in the United States and Americans serving sentences in Russia.

“I would say carefully now. There is such a mental work on this issue. After all, we do not have two people of Russians who are in prison. [в США] in prison, there are about a hundred of them, “the diplomat said.

Antonov emphasized that the issue of prisoner exchange has not yet been translated into a practical channel. “I think that this issue still requires additional, very serious study,” he said.

In addition, the Russian ambassador drew attention to the cruel treatment of Russians in US prisons. “Recently one of them was beaten, his cheek was torn, his teeth were knocked out, we sent a corresponding request to the State Department,” Antonov added. According to him, Russia demanded from the State Department to restore order in prisons, “so that there is just a human attitude towards the Russians.”

Russian diplomatic property

Antonov said that the issue of Russian diplomatic property remains unresolved, the prospects for its solution are not known.

“There is no movement on diplomatic property. I was clearly told at the level of the State Department leadership:“ We will not give you the property, you have houses, this is property, sell it. Let’s think about what you would like to buy. ” This is some kind of story, but from a practical point of view, I can’t even imagine where the end of this process could be seen,” he said.

“Every two weeks we send a note asking the Russian ambassador to just come in and see what is, what is happening in our buildings. Every two weeks we receive an answer:” No, “Antonov added.

“To date, a tough irreconcilable position [у США по вопросу российской дипсобственности], with which we cannot and will not reconcile, but we will continue to insist, demand that our property be returned, “the Russian ambassador to the United States emphasized.

On September 2, 2017, as part of the anti-Russian sanctions, the US authorities closed the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the trade mission in Washington, and its office in New York. The first two facilities are state-owned by Russia and have diplomatic immunity, while the third is rented by Moscow. The Russian Federation regarded the seizure of diplomatic property as an openly hostile act and called on the United States to immediately return these objects. On March 26, 2018, Washington announced the closure of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation (rented premises) in Seattle, as well as the residence of the Consul General (diplomatic property).

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