US limits issuance of non-immigrant visas to Russians
Earnest August 21, 2017
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The United States
limiting the operations of its embassy in Russia evidences Washington’s
attitude for further forced deterioration of relations with Moscow,
Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's
International Affairs Committee, said Monday.
Earlier in the day the US embassy announced that non-immigrant visa processing would be suspended on Wednesday, August 23.
"We believe this to be evidence of Washington’s attitude for further
forced deterioration of relations with Moscow. We shall speak of this
on all parliamentary platforms, including international ones. We shall
speak of the irrationality of such approach," Slutsky said as quoted
by the Russian State Duma’s social media page.
The Russian lawmaker added that the initiatives aimed at further
deterioration of bilateral ties were always voiced by the United States,
not by Russia.
"The initiative of further deterioration —
whether it is the expulsion of the Russian diplomats, or the
'amputation' of our diplomatic property or limitation of places issuing
visas — always comes from the US side,'' the official added.
According to Slutsky, Monday's move of Washington will harm the
interests of the Russians either having relatives in the United States
or having contacts with this country in the areas related to business
as well as civil society.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the dat that Moscow is considering possible response to Washington's move.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 28 suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow
and also offered the US to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff
in Russia to 455 people by September 1. The move came amid a new US
anti-Russia sanctions bill and follows a series of restriction measures
imposed by Washington since 2014. It is similar to Washington's decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and suspend the use of diplomatic assets by Moscow in late 2016.
On July 30, President Vladimir Putin said the US would have to cut its diplomatic presence by 755 people. Add