MOSCOW, August 21. /TAS/. First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house) Defense and Security Committee Franz Klintsevich has called the US decision to suspend all nonimmigrant visa operations as of August 23 a dirty trick aimed at triggering Russians’ dissatisfaction with US diplomatic staff cuts.
"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. It is clear that they hope to whip up dissatisfaction among a certain segment of the Russian population against the moves by the country’s leadership to roll back the number of employees at the US diplomatic mission in Russia," Klintsevich’s press service quotes him as saying.
According to the senator, the US will not be able to achieve its goals by resorting to such moves. "This will not work. People realize that the issue at hand is a tit-for-tat measure. They also realize that the suspension of visa issuance operations is not caused by purely technical reasons and that the American diplomatic mission’s staff members have all the means to fully do so in spite of the staff cuts," the senator stressed.
He admitted that the US move will lead to some difficulties. "However, we will be ready to cope with them," Klintsevich vowed.
On Monday, the US Embassy in Russia said it will suspend all nonimmigrant visa operations throughout the country 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, Moscow offered Washington to cap 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 at US diplomatic and consular establishments will be reduced to 455 people.