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Russian Foreign Ministry 'in contact' with Aeroflot on US visa issue

Aeroflot is the only airline that performs direct flights between Russia and the United States

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday it is in contact with Russian flag carrier Aeroflot on the problems with issuing US visas for its crews.

"The Foreign Ministry is in contact with the Aeroflot company on this issue," the ministry told TASS answering a question if the ministry had received the company’s request regarding problems of the crews with obtaining US visas.

Earlier on Friday, Aeroflot said it reported to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Transport that the US had stopped issuing visas for its crews. However, the company stated that the crews had US visas to perform flights to the US for several months.

Aeroflot is the only airline that performs direct flights between Russia and the United States. US airline giant Delta Airlines halted flights in early September.

On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia and the US could be left without direct flights due to the difficulties the crews of the Russian Aeroflot flagship carrier have with getting US visas. The ministry recalled that the obligation to issue visas to aircrews had been enshrined in the 1994 Russian-US Air Transport Agreement. Aeroflot later confirmed its crews were facing difficulties with getting US visas.

The Kremlin believes that Washington has deliberately created difficulties with issuing visas to Russian pilots, and there are no objective reasons for such a situation, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. US diplomatic staff cuts have not affected the Consular Section in any way, he noted.

The news that Aeroflot’s crews may face problems with extending or obtaining US visas broke in early April. The US Embassy in Moscow refuted reports that it refused to issue US visas to Aeroflot’s staff. It linked possible problems with getting US visas with a high demand and diplomatic staff cuts.