Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, announced that the United States has requested that 24 Russian diplomats, whose visas will expire soon, leave the United States by September 3. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Russian diplomat “did not accurately describe the situation.”
– We have received a list of 24 diplomats expected to leave the country by September 3, 2021. Almost all of them will leave without a substitution, because Washington has suddenly tightened the visa issuing procedure, said Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov.
The TASS agency, which quotes his words, refers to an interview text for National Interest magazine, reprinted on the Russian embassy’s Facebook page. According to Antonov, the US authorities “without explaining the reasons” began to cancel the visas of the spouses and children of diplomats. The ambassador said in an interview that “delays in extending expired visas” are common and that the purpose of these delays is “removing Russian diplomatic personnel from the country”.
The State Department responds to the criticism of the Russian ambassador
US State Department spokesman Ned Price, referring to the case, said Washington did not use Russian diplomats’ visas as revenge against Moscow. He said the Russian diplomat “did not accurately describe the situation.”
Price did not question that Russian diplomats would have to leave the United States and said it was “nothing new” that the Russians had to apply for a visa extension after three years. He stressed that visa applications are considered individually.
US diplomatic missions prohibiting the employment of Russians
In April, the authorities in Moscow banned US diplomatic missions in Russia from employing Russian citizens. On July 30, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that this decision would seriously affect the work of US representations in Russia. The US will have to lay off 182 local workers employed in Moscow, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, explained Blinken.
Due to the ban on the employment of Russians, the US Embassy in Moscow has restricted the provision of consular services since May. She also announced a reduction in the staff of her consulate by 75 percent. The facility recommended in May that Americans living in Russia, whose visas are expiring, leave Russia by mid-June. On Monday, the US Embassy in Moscow recommended to Russian citizens that they should submit applications for US visas in other countries, i.e. outside Russia.
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