The United States is no longer only delaying the issuance of visas to new Russian diplomatic personnel, but also does not extend the permits to stay in the country for the current ones, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Houston Alexander Zakharov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“For several years now, the Consulate General has been operating in an incomplete staffing precisely because of the tough visa policy of our American colleagues. Waiting for visas for a year or more has become commonplace, while the result is not guaranteed. People are forced to return to Russia without replacements, which, as you understand , has a very negative effect on the ability to effectively fulfill the tasks assigned to us,” he said.
“What is more alarming, the host country is now not only delaying the issuance of visas to new employees, but also refusing to renew the residence permits for employees of Russian foreign missions already in the United States. It turns out that if any of my colleagues who find themselves in such a situation have the urgent need to go to Russia, whether for business or personal reasons, they can no longer go back to America. A kind of “one-way ticket” in the middle of a business trip,” he explained.
The Consulate General expects that the American side will reconsider its position and return to constructive negotiations on visa issues, Zakharov stressed.
In early September 2017, the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, as well as the trade mission in Washington and the premises of the New York trade mission were transferred to the American side at the request of the State Department. Then the United States demanded to close the Consulate General in Seattle.
This was done simultaneously with the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage and in response to Russia’s alleged involvement in the incident with the poisoning of the British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in British Salisbury. Access to the consulate general for Russian diplomats is closed.