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Russian Foreign Ministry regrets US refusal to issue visas to Bolshoi Theatre performers

A situation around issuing of US visas in Russia leads to "substantial difficulties for business, cultural, sport and even family ties", the statement said

MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry regrets the refusal to issue US visas for members of Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, according to a statement released on Saturday.

"Only two days ago we highlighted a sorrowful situation around issuing of US visas in Russia, which has been artificially created by the US authorities, and which leads to substantial difficulties for business, cultural, sport and even family ties to be maintained. Visa denial for the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre performers is yet another sad example. As a result, the New York performance of principal O. Smirnova and first soloist J. Tiss has been derailed. Those lengths were not even reached during the Cold War times," the Foreign Ministry said.

Art "has always helped learn more and understand each other, break the ice of distrust, ease tensions in the relationship between countries," the ministry said, adding that tours of Russia’s "on-stage performance groups, including, of course, the Bolshoi Theatre considered a ‘trademark’ of the country around the world, struck a chord with a wide US audience at all times."

"However, today powerful forces in the US eager to put a stronger pressure on Russia, stop at nothing. For several years exhibition exchanges have been closed up through their fault, now tour visa denials seem to be used to break yet another binding thread between the two peoples. Moreover, the visa wall seems to be used to fence Americans off from Russians, making it next to impossible for our citizens to go to the United States," the statement noted.

"It only remains to regret such policy pursued by Washington. Ordinary Americans are unlikely to take kindly to being denied the opportunity to see the Russian culture and meet friends from Russia," the ministry added.

Earlier Page Six, a US online publication, reported that two members of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet had been refused visas to perform at a Lincoln Center gala in New York. On Wednesday the department’s (Department of Homeland Security - TASS) site read, "On April 10, 2018, we denied your… petition for a nonimmigrant worker," Page Six wrote.