MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. The United States has turned down our initiative to lift all the existing diplomatic restrictions, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said on Wednesday.
"Our proposal to lift all the existing restrictions was not supported by either the Department of State or the White House. I raised this issue during my contacts," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.
According to the Russian diplomat, it will be impossible to resume normal relations between the two countries without settling these problems.
"It seems to me that someone here in Washington thinks that we need predictably bad relations in this sphere. Naturally, we cannot accept this point of view," he stressed, adding that these problems impact adversely everyday life of Russian diplomats.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Tuesday called on the United States to begin dialogue with the Russian side to lift the existing restrictions.
In response to the US sanctions and another expulsion of Russian diplomats, Moscow banned the US embassy from hiring Russian and foreign citizens. The US embassy said after that it would reduce the range of consular services, including considering the applications for visas other than those for diplomatic trips, from May 12. Visa issuance to diplomatic personnel slowed down considerably. Since August 1, the US embassy in Moscow has been working with only 120 employees, the lowest ever number over the past five years.
The Russian foreign ministry noted that the US embassy is free to fill the quota of 455 diplomats by employing US nationals.