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MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. The United States will suspend its procedure of issuing nonimmigrant visas in Russia as of August 23, in Moscow this procedure will be resumed on September 1, the US embassy has announced.
"As a result of the Russian government’s personnel cap imposed on the US Mission, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017. Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the US Embassy in Moscow," the statement said. "NIV interviews at the US Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice."
"As of 0900 Moscow time Monday, August 21, the US Mission will begin canceling current nonimmigrant visa appointments countrywide. The NIV applicants who have their interviews canceled should call the number below to reschedule their interview at the US Embassy in Moscow for a later date," the embassy stated.
Restrictions for issuing US nonimmigrant visas will remain as long as diplomatic mission personnel cuts are in effect, the embassy stressed:
"We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced."
The US embassy in Moscow began preparations for sending off personnel in compliance with the tit-for-tat measures, announced by Russia in response to Washington’s sanctions.
"Planning for departures and staff reductions has already begun in order to meet the Russian government’s September 1 deadline for the reduction of personnel," the US Mission said.
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 engaged in US diplomatic and consular missions will be reduced to 455 people.
For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted in a TV interview with host Vladimir Solovyov that a total of 755 US diplomats and technical staff members are to leave Russia.
In addition to that, Russia suspended the use of the warehouses and the property in Serebryany Bor in Moscow by the US Embassy as of August 1.