MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Commenting on Russia's retaliatory measures, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said that the expulsions of American diplomats by the Russian side greatly complicate the work of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow.
"If the expulsions by the Russian government continue, it will be very difficult to continue to function safely as an embassy," Sullivan told the Politico newspaper. The relevant article was published on Monday.
In particular, the ambassador’s biggest concern is that the embassy’s infrastructure is aging, and important systems need to be maintained or replaced.
"We can’t get visas from the Russian government for trained personnel to do the work," Sullivan said.
"We have had problems with elevators, generators, electrical transformers, fuel tanks, and water pumps. And it is not just a matter of inconvenience. There are real health and safety issues that need to be addressed," he added.
In response to Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions and yet another expulsion of diplomats, Moscow barred US embassy from hiring Russian and third country citizens. On May 12 last year, the US embassy announced that it will reduce the amount of provided consular services, including suspension of reviewing of non-diplomatic visa applications. The provision of visas to the diplomats was slowed down significantly. Since August 1 last year, the US mission operated on the minimum staff in five years: 120 employees.
On February 17, the US embassy in Moscow told TASS that Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman was expelled from Russia.