US Mission in Russian Federation to Temporarily Halt Visa Services

US Mission in Russian Federation to Temporarily Halt Visa Services”

"Visa operations at the United States consulates will remain suspended indefinitely", Xinhua news agency cited the United States embassy as saying in a statement.

"We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced", the USA embassy said. Immigrant Visas related to permanent residence may also be impacted.

A Moscow Times reporter at Novinsky Bulvar on Tuesday morning between 11:15 a.m. 12:45 p.m. said the area around the embassy was quiet except for other journalists and television crews, with roughly ten people coming out of the consular section during an hour-long period. The Russian government and the Vatican's Secretariat of State have sealed an agreement on visa-free travel for the holders of diplomatic passports in Moscow on Tuesday, a correspondent reported from the signing ceremony.

This spiraling diplomatic dispute between the two nations began when President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats in the United States after Russian meddling in the USA presidential elections came to light.

First Deputy Chairman of Russia's Federation Council (upper house) Defense and Security Committee Franz Klintsevich was voiced his displeasure at the action, "I would describe the American decision on suspending nonimmigrant visa issuance in Russia as a dirty trick, which is definitely out of tune with the status of the United States as a great power". The U.S. embassy in Moscow alone processed more than 16,000 NIVs in the most recent fiscal year, mostly in the B-1/B-2 categories.

Russian citizens are required to have an interview as part of their application process for all visas.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference the decision to cut visa operations aims to make Russians feel discontent with their own government. "Their logic is well known-the logic of those who organize "color revolutions"-and it is the inertia of the Obama administration, pure and simple", he concluded". It is necessary to check the measures announced, but we will not make U.S. citizens pay for the White House behavior, he said.

Last month, Congress imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Russian Federation for its meddling in elections and its aggressive behavior toward neighboring countries.

While Moscow repeatedly denied any intervention in the U.S. election, Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States and closed two diplomatic compounds.

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