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US Embassy in Russia Suspends Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, July 30, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

The US Embassy in Russia said Monday it will suspend issuing nonimmigrant visas in Moscow for eight days and will stop issuing visas at its consulates elsewhere in Russia in response to the Russian decision to cap embassy staff.

The embassy said in a statement that it made the decision after the Russian Foreign Ministry’s order to cap the number of US diplomatic personnel in Russia.

The embassy said it would resume issuing visas in Moscow on Sept. 1, but would stop giving visas at consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

Earlier this month, Russia ordered the US to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, or by two-thirds, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow after the US Congress approved sanctions against Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday the US decision on visas was an attempt to stir up ill-feeling among ordinary Russians against the authorities.

“The American authors of these decisions have come up with another attempt to stir up discontent among Russian citizens about the actions of the Russian authorities. It’s a well known logic … and this it the logic of those who organize color revolutions,” Lavrov told reporters during a news conference

Lavrov, who said the decision suggested Washington didn’t think its reduced diplomatic staff could adapt to new circumstances, said Russia would carefully study the US decision and promised that Moscow would not take out its anger on ordinary US citizens.