US Embassy In Russia Halts Issuance Of Non-Immigrant Visas, Moscow Vows "Retaliation In Kind"

Tyler Durden's picture

The latest escalation in the deteriorating diplomatic relations between the US and Russia was unveiled this morning, when the US embassy in Russia announced it was scaling back its visa services in Russia after Moscow ordered it to sharply cut its diplomatic staff in retaliation over new U.S. sanctions, and would suspend all non-immigrant visa operations in Russia starting August 23, although visa operations will be resumed on September 1, but only in the main embassy building in Moscow.

US embassy in Moscow

As disclosed in the US embassy statement, "as a result of the Russian government’s personnel cap imposed on the U.S. Mission, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017.  Visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale.  Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.... As of 0900 Moscow time Monday, August 21, the U.S. Mission will begin canceling current nonimmigrant visa appointments countrywide.

The greatly reduced US mission in Russia also said that "the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and three consulates will continue to provide emergency and routine services to American citizens, although hours may change."

"Capacity for interviews in the future will be greatly reduced because we have had to greatly reduce our staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement," the embassy told applicants in a note on its web site.

While previously Russian citizens could apply for tourist visas in local US consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, today's announcement ends this practice, forcing applicants to go to the Russian capital: "NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice... The staffing changes will also affect the scheduling of some immigrant visa applicants.  Affected applicants will be contacted if there is a change as to the time and date of their interview."

The move, which will further sour already battered U.S.-Russia relations, means Russian citizens wanting to visit the United States for tourism will no longer be able to apply via U.S. consulates outside Moscow and will have to travel to the Russian capital instead.

The action comes on the heels of Moscow’s order to cut the American diplomatic corps by 755 people and bring it to the numbers equivalent to Russian diplomatic staff in the US, which is 455 people. To meet the deadline of the Russia’s order, which expires on September 1, the US diplomatic mission has already begun “planning for departures and staff reductions.”

The US embassy in Moscow also condemned Moscow’s decision on the diplomatic staff reduction, saying that it casts doubt on the will to improve the bilateral relations. “Russia’s decision to reduce the United States’ diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia’s seriousness about pursuing better relations,” the embassy statement said.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said earlier this month that the United States had issued around 150,000 visas to Russian citizens last year. The U.S. embassy signaled its new scaled back visa regime could be in place for some time. "We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced," it said.

* * *

Shortly after the announcement, A Russian senator quoted by RIA news agency said that Russia will respond in kind to U.S. visa changes: "New U.S. visa rules for Russians are a demarche", RIA Novosti reported, citing member of Federation Council Andrey Klimov.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the US decision to scale back visa services in Russia was an attempt to stir up ill-feeling among ordinary Russians against the authorities. Lavrov, speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, said that "the American authors of these decisions have come up with another attempt to stir up discontent among Russian citizens about the actions of the Russian authorities. It's a well known logic ... and this it the logic of those who organize color revolutions," Lavrov told reporters.

Lavrov, who said the decision suggested Washington didn't think its reduced diplomatic staff could adapt to new circumstances, said Russia would carefully study the U.S. decision and promised that Moscow would not take out its anger on ordinary U.S. citizens.

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dogismycopilot's picture

While many wealth Russians will be pissed off about this, the truth is that they are at risk of being illegally arrested in the US and the smart Russians will stop visiting the US.

Looney's picture

 

the US embassy announced it was scaling back its visa services in Russia

This is pitiful. We behave like a crazy-ass-stalker ex-girlfriend.

What’s next, slashing tires or keying the cars of the Russian diplomats in the US?  ;-)

Looney

svayambhu108's picture

Shooting themselves in the foot, now it will be harder to have all those "NGO democratic helpers", "democracy watchers", what have you, etc during the Russian election

Dutti's picture

The US is continuing to shoot themselves in the foot.

They work hard to reduce the inflow of visitors not only from Russia who spend significant amounts of funds for tourism, but also for investment (condos, homes etc.).

More importantly, the US sends a signal also to the rest of the world's tourists and investors to stay away.

I have met many well off non US citizen friends and acquaintances from all over the world who have decided not to travel to the US anymore because of unpleasent reported experiences at airports when boarding a US bound airplane and when entering the country at US airports etc.

I am talking specifically about high quality people from the developed western world who have no intention to immigrate, overstay or otherwise be a burden to the US. Many of these concerns are not even based on personal experiences but on reported occurences. Personally, I never had any problems or undue delays when entering the US.

Well off visitors have also cut back on travel to muslim countries like Egypt, Tunisia etc. because of safety concerns. They even cut back on travel to Europe because of the uncontrolled migration flow to these countries.

With all the problems going on in many other parts of the world, the US would have a unique opportunity to benefit it's economy - but NO, the US feels there is no need to court valuable tourist dollars.

TwelveOhOne's picture

So, "US: A nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there"???

[Edit: I mean, the restricting of non-immigrant visas in the article.]

Diatom's picture

Visit Murica?

Fuck that!

Shit food and fat fucks everywhere!

A lot of better and cheaper places to visit in the world...

Lumberjack's picture

Yup, but illegals with serious criminal records are allowed to pour in unhindered, get drivers licenses, free medical care, housing and welfare. WTF? Are russian spies gonna get the secret navigational methods of the Navy?

OH wait? The Israeli's already have them... keep that one quiet!

FringeImaginigs's picture

Just one question please.  And with the severe reduction in staff levels in all the consulates in Russia, as required by the Russian governement orders, who exactly is supposed to continue accepting, reviewing and processing NIV applications?

giovanni_f's picture

cia-approved, honest Russians will enter on parole to play their part in a deep state operation against Trump

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/13/obama-admin-let-russian-lawye...

Crazy Or Not's picture

Nah, just more of the "Boston Braking" Vlad's favorite Chauffer affairs...
That and topping their Eurasian Diplomats...
it's like the pre WWII phoney war ... digs and jabs before the real games commence... :(

CheapBastard's picture

Well, I hpe this doesn to mean we increase visas from Haiti to compensate. At least half of those state dept employees needed to be fired and replaced with Americans.

Crazy Or Not's picture

Haha... nah, Canada will likely do well out of this.
Business can never be stopped just more intemediaries now

HowdyDoody's picture

McCain strikes again. The USS John McCain (8000 T)  has hit a merchant vessel Alnic MC (30,000 T) with 10 crew missing and 5 injured. The incident happened near Singapore.

Has the USN forgotten how to operate ships?

 

 

fx's picture

Upon reading this I cannot but ask myself what the hell the remaining 455 people are doing all day long? I mean, if visa issuance virtually comes to a halt, wtf are all these people busy with? Chasing Russian girls and conspriring to influence Russian elections, for sure. But what about the remaining 20 hours of an average working day?

Beowulf55's picture

It was 755 people....not 455.

 

Makes it even worse, doesn't it?

 

Interesting number 755....

Promethus's picture

I had the same reaction to the announcement that 17 US intelligence agencies believe something or other. What do you need 17 intelligence agencies for? Same with 755 embassy workers.

Crazy Or Not's picture

I think I go with the Russian EM/ Radar hacking, Run a tanker with lights out at night it's just a black shadow. 
Put a warship in a port and you can run a shitload of sneak diagnostics on it.... 

caconhma's picture

But, We are politically correct.

PS

Please remind me a single war the USA won since the WWII! (Please don't count Grenada. As for Iraq, we are still there). I wish Trump has sent Kushner and Ivanka to Afghanistan.

Dollar_Store_Confucius's picture

Have the Russians figured out a way to foil our GPS guided vessels?

Perhaps.

Son of Thor's picture

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jobproplan.com%3A68UoF1LgzM-Yo3S...

silverer's picture

You're not making jack shit. Now go home before I tell your mother what you're doing.

BarkingCat's picture

This will likely backfire. 

I was told last week by someone who was visiting Turkey and heard the Russian vacationers there talking about the US that they were extremely anti-US.

This person speaks fluent Russian so understood everything.

Also thought that it was because Russian media bombards Russians with propaganda, but that is another story.

caconhma's picture

Russia's people never had a say outsisde of the official government line. Remember, they are white niggers!

silverer's picture

Don't give them any ideas.

Stinkworx's picture

The US embassy are too busy trying to create a coup inside Russia to bother doing Visa's

nmewn's picture

This will be appealed to the Ninth Circus ;-)

dark fiber's picture

Exactly why the fuck is the US trying to cause so much tension with Russia.  US foreign policy is getting more and more senseless.

new game's picture

deep state wants to spend money bigly with a moar formidable opponent. big war means big money spent. simple shit maynard.

msm has the progressive nationalists hating russia, so sure, let us fight the "comie bastards".

makes perfect sense if you are ina position to get benifits from this. p-lus these fuks are soiciopaths.

all normal behavior to them. get in line mofo, killing to be done...

NAV's picture

This is a sanctions war. When you start it, you are asking for repercussions. And they can be severe. One of the causes of WWII was the tigntening of US relationships with Japan, i.e., sanctions to the point where Japan couldn't take it any more - leading to the fear that the US may take military steps. With events moving rapidly in China and throughout the South Pacific, Japan calculated that war with America was coming. The Japanese military concluded that they needed to remove the US naval potential then based at Pearl Harbor before the war started. And thus Pearl Harbor happened.

This kind of tension today could lead to an open war with Russia, for example, when Russian bombers are sent to take out potential US air power based in Europe, Alaska, and other locations. This would happen if Russia concludes that war is coming and it would be to her advantage to remove the.air attack danger first.

In both cases, US actions led and are leading to war.

kochevnik's picture

Sanctions crippled Japan as they are island with few natural resources. Russia is opposite. USA sanctions are mostly a joke. We were flooded with cheap imports with Yeltsin and domestic production suffered. Even then few American products, mostly potato chips and snickers. Everyone knows most Russian products superior quality to imported, but foreign marketing was potent. Now domestic production can again regain position. I only need best products, and always will be market for the best

caconhma's picture

Today Russia is a colony. It even unable to print its own currency at will.

Russia name is all that left of Russia. In 1917 Jewish Bolsheviks destroyed the Russia Empire and consequently slaughtered of 50 millions of Russia Slaves. The Russia's future is of Venezuela.

BarkingCat's picture

Who are the commie bastards? 

Antifa, US media and entire educational system?

caconhma's picture

Do you expect either the US Congress or Agent Orange to have a coherent foreign policy

Spetzco's picture

I've concluded that we are a petty and mean-spirited nation. Reminds me of the time my girlfriend had her passport stolen in Milan. The US consulate official there told her that she would need her passport to gain admittance...to get a replacement passport. Looney indeed.  USA, USA, USA (repeat until hoarse....)

dearth vader's picture

An instant of 'bureaucrazy'.

LindseyNarratesWordress's picture

Who-the-fuck-else is sick-and-tired of feeling like we have been hoodwinked by Candidate Trump?

 

The man who is in-office is NOT, NOT, NOT!!! acting like the man for whom we voted, and elected--NO FUCKING WAY.

 

Lindsey

fx's picture

As Bannon said, the presidency of hope for real change is OVER!

The only thing that I do not understand is why bannon still wants to go to war FOR Trump? That orange clown has thrown everybody under the bus who tried to be loyal to Trump AND loyal to the promises made to the people.

In the result, we now have only (armchair) generals and goldman scum in the administration. All were appointed by the Donald. Yes, there is huge obstruction by the deep state and the republican establishment. But still, Trump cannot distance himself from his very own nominations and actions.

Fuck this clown in chief! Traitor!

RedBaron616's picture

If you had bothered to look at Trump's background, you would have had good reason not to trust all his sudden conservative rhetoric on the campaign trail. I look at what a politician has done, not what they SAY they will do. Actions show intent much better than words. That said, the last time the GOP had a decent candidate was Ronald Reagan, which is why I no longer consider myself a Republican and refuse to ever vote for one again. They lie to any extent to be elected. I wrote the Constitution Party candidates in this past Presidential cycle.

BarkingCat's picture

That's not true about Trump's past.

There are interviews from 20 plus years ago that show his major positions have remained consistent. 

The disappointment is with Trump being such a pussy. 

Obama had bigger balls than Trump.

However, while there is a lot to complain about, Trump election has already returned huge dividends.

We cannot forget that.

Border Patrol is allowed to do its job.

TPP is long forgotten. 

The Paris accord is as well.

Bureaucracy has been ordered to stop creating news rules and regulations and existing ones are being rolled back.

 

 

fx's picture

True. But bigger or smaller balls or not, Trump turns out to be nothing but a another cocksucker, same as obozo. A notable difference of course, is that Obozo gets regularly cornholed by Michel, in addition to sucking his cock.

Spetzco's picture

Yup, kinda feeling that way as well....     (still, beats having to listen to bats*it crazy criminal canckles for the next 3 1/2 years)

Youri Carma's picture

UPDATE 1-Russian court rejects Siemens' plea to seize its turbines in Crimea
https://uk.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-crimea-siemens-ruling-idUK...

SoDamnMad's picture

If Siemens isn't there for start-up checks, is the warranty invalidated?  Not that anything would be wrong. Good equipment.

Youri Carma's picture

I think they don't worry about that since the whole turbine deal has been invalidated trough the new sanctions;

July 19, 2017 / 5:47 PM / a month ago
Russia will struggle to turn on Siemens turbines in sanctions-bound Crimea
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-crimea-siemens-turbine-...

July 21, 2017
Siemens Stops Turbine Sales to Russia in Sanctions Dispute
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/business/energy-environment/siemens-r...

August 5, 2017 / 1:54 PM / 16 days ago
Russia: new EU sanctions over Siemens turbines violate international law
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-crimea-siemens-sanctio-...

Kina's picture

This type of stuff from the US is pointless and harms them more, it costs them business and sends it elsewhere.

So Russia starts making their own, or source it from other places.

Net result is Seimens lose business permanently.

Joe A's picture

These plea are just for show. Of course Siemens knew or could have known that these turbines would go to Crimea. And of course they knew that the plea would fail.

quasi_verbatim's picture

Demarche -- the nuclear diplomatic option.

effendi's picture

So how many thousands of (mostly wealthy) Russian tourists will not be coming to the US and spending how many thousands of dollars (each) in high end hotels, restaurants, bars and fashion boutiques? Seems to me that the US will be hurting itself as those tourists spend their time and money either at home or in other countries that put out the welcome mat (the shopping is great and the people a bit classier in Milan compared to NYC)