Russia and the US are on the brink of another visa scandal. For the second time this year, a delegation of Russian officials was denied visas and was thus unable to fly to Washington, the Russian embassy to the US reported on Wednesday.
On December 3, representatives of Russia’s Federal Treasury planned to attend a conference of the International Institute on Regulation of the Auditing Profession. However, they did not receive visas in time.
Last week, the US Department of State also did not allow Oleg Malginov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for cooperation with compatriots abroad, to visit New York to attend a youth forum (November 28-29).
“The US authorities are consistently limiting the entry of our official representatives and disrupting the most important negotiation formats,” the Russian embassy said in a statement.
The US diplomatic mission in Moscow explains the development as “a shortage of consular staff” which arose after the diplomatic scandals of 2018, when both sides systematically expelled diplomats.
The Russian embassy is unconvinced, however, by these “flimsy pretexts”, and said that the State Department’s unwillingness to facilitate the normal functioning of its own consular institutions is concerning. “As a result, interaction between our citizens is suffering, and the professional dialog of experts, which security throughout the world depends on in many ways, is curtailed,” the diplomatic mission lamented.
“Such actions by the American authorities will lead to a further degradation of the already difficult relations between the two countries, and goes against what the US Administration representatives have said about the need to normalize them,” the embassy remarked.
Russia will respond to Washington’s actions, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council, told RIA Novosti. “When Washington voices more justifications along the lines of ‘Russia started it’.. and is otherwise surprised at why, in response, some Americans are not let into our country, I think it will be necessary to remind them of this situation,” he threatened.
In September 2019, the US embassy in Moscow did not issue visas to members of the Russian delegation that was meant to accompany Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on his trip to the UN General Assembly. The Russian embassy in the US says that it still has not received any responses to its inquiries on the matter.