MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. The US, by deciding to suspend visa processing, is trying to whip up resentment among Russian citizens on the decisions taken by Russian authorities, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"The first impression is the US authors of these decisions have plotted another attempt at stirring up resentment among Russian citizens regarding decisions by the Russian authorities," he said.
Russia is still reviewing the US Department of State’s announcement on suspending issuing visas to Russian citizens before responding to these restrictions, Lavrov added.
"As for our countermoves…, I’ve already said that it is necessary to study in detail the decisions announced by the Americans today," he stressed. "I can only say that we will not take it out on US citizens, that is, if someone hoped that in that case one fool makes many, they were mistaken."
On Monday, the US Embassy in Russia said it will suspend all nonimmigrant visa operations in Russia as of August 23. The procedure will resume in Moscow on September 1, while the Consulates General in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok will not issue visas.
On July 28, the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed to cut the number of diplomatic and technical staff working in the US Embassy to Moscow and the Consulates General in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to the exact number of Russian diplomats and technical staff members working in the US before September 1. That means that the total number of the staff in the US diplomatic and consular establishments will be reduced to 455 people. Russian President Vladimir Putin noted in an interview with VGTRK host Vladimir Solovyov that a total of 755 US diplomats and technical staff members are to leave Russia.