MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. The reports suggesting that American teachers were refused Russian visas are an outright lie, because they were traveling to Russia with diplomatic passports, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Wednesday.
"This is a blatant lie, because the US side has concealed facts," the Russian diplomatic agency pointed out. "These are the facts: the teachers of an American school in Moscow are sent to Russia as embassy employees with diplomatic passports, even though the school works as a commercial enterprise. The pricelist is available for everyone to study."
The Foreign Ministry underlined that in spite of the school being a commercial enterprise, the teachers are arriving in Moscow with the same passports as the one the US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman holds. "Therefore, a teacher is a US diplomat, who works in a commercial organization and enjoys diplomatic privileges. This is nonsense!" the ministry emphasized. "Moreover, the school itself is exempt from any legal frameworks and the US side is perfectly aware of that. We are surprised that the US ambassador concealed these facts when commenting on the situation."
The ministry recalled that Moscow has repeatedly been asking the US side for many years to sit down at the negotiating table, bring the school’s status into compliance and resolve all the issues that emerged on the basis of reciprocity. "Instead of a normal dialogue [we get] acting up and provocations. Just like today. While the US politicians hold Russian children hostage, whose parents pay enormous amounts of money for the education," the diplomatic agency said. "And each time Washington continues to send teachers to Moscow with diplomatic passports and accredit them as the administrative and technical embassy staff."
The Russian Foreign Ministry specified that at the same time the US side is not issuing visas of the same categories for the administrative and technical staff of the Russian diplomatic missions. "The US state institutions are likely to have deliberately created this deadlock to contrive a new scandal, holding citizens hostages." Moreover, the US side took one step further and started "intimidating and blackmailing certain parents of the school’s pupils." "And today we saw an information attack organized as well, consisting of fact-juggling and disinformation," the ministry added.
"All the options of resolving the crisis are on the table of the American ambassador in Moscow. Moscow has many times reached out to Washington with proposals to settle the visa issues," the ministry concluded.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the Russian authorities had denied entry visas for 30 teachers of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, where particularly children of foreign diplomats and businessmen are studying. The school serves around 1,200 children of different ages, including the ones whose parents are American, British, Canadian, German and South Korean diplomats. Russian kids are also among the students. The newspaper suggests that some of the students would probably have to be asked to leave due to teacher shortages. It also believes that it will not affect the kids of US, British and Canadian diplomats because they are enjoying admission priorities.