The United States artificially restricts the issuance of non-immigrant visas to Russian citizens in order to achieve unilateral concessions from the latter, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Now the American side, referring to the“ lack of personnel, ”artificially restricts the issuance of nonimmigrant visas in the Russian Federation,” the head of the department said in an interview with RIA Novosti, adding that “Washington is doing this for a reason, but in order to“ bargain ”for unilateral concessions on the part of Russia ”.
The United States stopped issuing non-diplomatic visas to Russians on May 12, 2021, and the situation is still difficult, Lavrov added. He recalled that Washington retained the right to consider applications related to emergencies of vital importance.
According to the minister, the United States is unlikely to make any concessions in its current visa policy, although Russia continues to talk about the need to establish the process of issuing such documents. All this is happening “against the background of the degradation of the situation in bilateral relations” between the countries, Lavrov explained.
On April 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which embassies and consulates of countries committing unfriendly actions towards Russia should not employ people on Russian territory. Previously concluded labor contracts were ordered to be terminated. The list of countries unfriendly to Russia includes the United States and the Czech Republic.
Since May 12, the American embassy in Moscow has stopped issuing any nonimmigrant visas, except diplomatic ones, to Russians, and the number of employees in the capital’s US consular department has decreased by 75%. On April 1, the issuance of visas was suspended by the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, and before that – by the American diplomatic mission in Vladivostok. Earlier, Washington has repeatedly imposed restrictions on the work of Russian diplomats in the United States.