MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Russian nationals applying for UK visas are on a regular basis facing prejudiced and discriminatory attitude of British immigration authorities, Russian Ambassador in London Alexander Yakovenko told the Kommersant daily.
"It has never been easy to get a British visa, more difficult than in many other states, for example in Schengen countries," Yakovenko said.
"We are first of all concerned not about the immigration rules of Great Britain as they are, but the way they are applied to our citizens. And in all appearances they are applied with prejudice," he said.
"For example, it takes two weeks and sometimes longer to get a British visa in Russia. For comparison, the Russian visa is issued maximally within five working days," the ambassador continued.
Citing the recent incident in which a female Russian national was detained at London’s airport and had to go through seven hours of checks, he said it was not an isolated incident, as the Russian Embassy was receiving reports about numerous similar situations involving Russian nationals.
"We cannot but see it as a tendency within the general context of our bilateral relations with Great Britain," he continued. "The affected persons are Russians from different social groups, with different aims of their trips. The only thing uniting them is the Russian passport and discriminatory attitude of British people," Yakovenko said.
"Not all of them report such unpleasant incidents, as many fear that a complaint about arbitrary treatment on the border will make it more difficult for them to obtain visas in the future," the ambassador noted.
The diplomat said ordinary citizens were hit by what the official London called "sanctions against top Russian officials," noting that people traveling to the United Kingdom had no hostile feelings against that country.
On Tuesday, the ambassador said Great Britain was also "squeezing" Russian diplomats out of the country through chicanery, delaying the issuing of visas for Russian diplomats.
This practice "is out of keeping with international commitments" of the country, the diplomat wrote in Twitter, saying the number of embassy staffers was decreasing as a result.