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US visa suspension move tramples on idea of freedom — senior Russian diplomat

August 23, 6:19 UTC+3 TOKYO

Sergei Ryabkov added that Moscow still hoped for improvements in its relations with Washington

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© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

TOKYO, August 23. /TASS/. By putting on hold the issuance of non-immigrational visas to Russian citizens, the United States compromised its fundamental idea - the idea of freedom, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with Japan’s NHK TV on Wednesday.

"The United States, which has been professing the value of freedom to the whole world, demonstrated that they can easily sacrifice their main value to political ambitions. However, we remain calm on this matter," he said.

Ryabkov added that Moscow still hoped for improvements in its relations with Washington.

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.

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