The decision of the US Embassy in Moscow to stop processing applications for nonimmigrant visas looks like a manifestation of archaism, the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote on Friday, April 30, in Telegram.
“The reason is the forced reduction of the“ local staff ”. It would be easier to say: we do not know how and do not want to work, ”the department noted.
The Foreign Ministry recalled that the American Embassy had previously worked with months of delays. In particular, the expectation of an “interview” with the consul was up to a year.
For comparison, the publication emphasizes, in Russian consular offices the visa processing time has remained the same – up to 10 days.
“The American complaints sound frankly stupid that the new reality, which does not imply the hiring of“ assistants ”to carry out official duties, allegedly came as a surprise to Washington,” the diplomats noted.
According to the ministry, Moscow has always reacted with restraint to Washington’s unfriendly steps and warned in advance about the consequences.
With the disproportion in favor of the personnel of the American missions in Russia and the blocking of adequate consular work in the Russian Federation, it becomes obvious that the colleagues from the United States in Russia were engaged not only in diplomatic work, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.
It is noted that nothing prevents Washington from completing the staff of the embassy to resume normal consular work. According to the quota, 175 people will be able to be hired from among the holders of American passports.
“Without 400 employees from among Russian citizens who were hired on the spot, 280 officially accredited persons with American diplomatic and service passports will remain in it. The quota for the United States is now 455, that is, it’s not a problem to fill the “deficit” that has arisen and resume normal consular work, ”the ministry calculated.
Effective May 12, the U.S. Embassy in Russia will suspend processing of nonimmigrant visa applications other than diplomatic travel. In addition, consular services will only be provided to Americans and for a limited number of urgent cases. US citizens whose Russian visas are about to expire are advised to leave the country by June 15th.
The United States has imposed new sanctions against Russia, some of which target Russian diplomats. Washington also announced that it was expelling 10 employees of the Russian diplomatic mission from the country, giving them a month to collect. The staff of the consulate will be reduced by 75%.
On April 27, it became known that the Russian government would soon publish a list of “unfriendly countries” in accordance with a presidential decree signed on April 23, among which the United States, Great Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Canada and the Baltic republics are likely to be.