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ASTANA, August 29. /TASS/. Moscow will respond, including in kind, if Washington hampers the operation of Russian consulates general in the US, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday.
"We want American citizens’ trips to Russia to be carried out with minimal obstacles," he stressed. "In this case, the US politics will not be a reason for responding in kind. This would be counter-productive," the diplomat added.
"First, we are ruled by the knowledge of what is beneficial to us and what we need and, second, [the desire] not to destroy anything proactively in relations with Russia or the possibility to develop contacts between people or in the sphere of economic relations development," Ryabkov noted. "So in visa sphere, despite the American far-reaching decisions, there will be no equal responses from our side, that’s for sure," he affirmed.
"If Americans strive to complicate the operation of our embassies and consulates in the US, then the issue of retaliatory measures, including responding kind, will become especially important," the senior diplomate warned.
On July 28, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Washington should equal the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in the US Embassy in Moscow and in consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to the exact number of the Russian diplomats and technical staff working in the US in response to the bill on new ant-Russian sanctions adopted by the US Congress. This means that the total number of staff working in the US diplomatic and consulate entities in Russia will be reduced to 455 people. President Vladimir Putin specified that 755 American diplomats had to leave Russia.
On August 21, the US Embassy to Russia declared suspension of non-immigrant visa issues to Russian citizens. Visa issuance will be renewed on September 1, but only in Moscow. Consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok will not issue visas.