This was the result of Russia’s retaliatory sanctions.
The US Embassy in Russia in connection with the ban on the hiring of foreign citizens will reduce the staff of the consulate by 75%. This is stated in a message published on Friday on the website of the diplomatic mission.
“We regret that the actions of the Russian government forced us to cut our consular staff by 75%, and we will try to offer the US citizens as many services as possible,” the message says.
Also, from May 12, the number of consular services provided will be reduced, in particular, the consideration of documents for visas that are not intended for diplomatic trips will be suspended. “From May 12, the US Embassy in Moscow will reduce the number of consular services offered to include only emergency services for US citizens and a very limited number of immigrant visas. <…> This reduction in services is necessary in connection with the notification of the Russian government on April 23 of the intention ban the US diplomatic missions from hiring foreigners in any number. Consideration of documents for nonimmigrant and non-diplomatic visas will be terminated, “the message says.
The diplomatic mission clarified that urgent services provided to US citizens in Russia may be delayed or limited due to the limited movement of personnel outside Moscow.
In addition, US citizens who are in Russia with expired visas are strongly advised to leave the Russian Federation before June 15, when the decree expires, according to which, due to the pandemic, foreigners and stateless persons will not be expelled and deported from Russia, the report said. “If you plan to stay in Russia after this deadline, visit your local office of the Ministry of the Interior to start the necessary paperwork,” the embassy added.
About US sanctions and countermeasures
On April 15, US President Joe Biden signed a decree on sanctions against Russia. Washington, in particular, prohibited American companies from directly buying debt securities issued by the Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund, or the RF Ministry of Finance. 16 organizations and 16 individuals were sanctioned for links with Moscow-attributed interference in the US elections, and eight citizens and legal entities for work in Crimea. It also announced the expulsion from Washington of 10 diplomats, whom the United States considers to be representatives of the Russian intelligence services.
On April 16, Russia announced retaliatory measures. In addition to the fact that the US ambassador was recommended to go to Washington for consultations, the Russian Federation invited 10 American diplomats to leave Moscow and launched a procedure that is designed to stop the practice of hiring citizens of Russia and third countries to American diplomatic missions in the Russian Federation. In addition, Moscow has banned eight current and former American high-ranking officials and figures involved in the development and implementation of the anti-Russian policy, including the US Attorney General, the Director of the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, from entering the country.