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Russia’s ban on hiring local staff led to worsening of ties, says US ambassador

"The relations between the US and Russia are always of predominant importance," John Sullivan noted

MOSCOW, September 23. /TASS/. The prohibition of Russian nationals being employed at the US Embassy has led to the deterioration of bilateral relations in a number of areas, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said at the 21st Annual AmCham Business and Investment Conference in Russia.

"To issue visas we need to have individuals to provide services," Sullivan said mentioning the prohibition imposed on the US embassy by the Russian government to employ Russian citizens or other nationals. "We simply do not have the personnel, who can provide services for not only American citizens," he added.

"The prohibition of the employment of local staff has led to the degradation of bilateral relations of the United States and Russia in other areas of the diplomatic work," the ambassador noted. In April, Moscow imposed restrictions on the hiring of Russian or third-country citizens by the American diplomatic mission as a response to the anti-Russian sanctions announced by Washington and the expulsion of Russian diplomats. Since August 1, the US Embassy in Russia has continued to function using 120 employees - its lowest number of personnel in five years.

"This is not the relations that the United States wants. We need to make our relations reciprocal; we need to have a more balanced relationship," Sullivan stressed and said that he personally as a US ambassador and the US administration are working hard to maintain the current dialogue with the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The relations between the US and Russia are always of predominant importance," he concluded.