Washington asks 24 Russian diplomats to leave U.S.

U.S. authorities have handed Russia a list of 24 Russian diplomats who must leave the country before September 3. This is due to the fact that the three-year term of their stay in the country expires. Last December, the U.S. Department of State set a three-year stay limit for Russian personnel, which applies only to Russian diplomats, said Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov in an interview with The National Interest.

Almost all of Russian diplomats will leave without replacement, because Washington has tightened the procedures for issuing visas, Antonov added.

Antonov also claims that the US authorities cancel valid visas for spouses and children of employees of the Russian mission without explanation. He added that because of the actions of the United States, Russia was forced to "take additional steps to balance the working conditions of the U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia," including prohibiting American missions from hiring Russians.

In late April, Vladimir Putin signed a decree restricting "unfriendly foreign states" from hiring people in Russia. In May, the Russian government included the United States and the Czech Republic in the list of "unfriendly" countries. The ban on the work of Russians in American consulates came into force on August 1. The U.S. was forced to lay off 182 employees.

Due to the forced reduction of the staff, the American Embassy in Moscow recommended that Russians apply for non-immigrant visas to the US diplomatic missions in other countries.

"We regret that the actions of the Russian government forced us to reduce the staff of consular officers by 75%, thus making it impossible to provide relevant services," the representative of the diplomatic mission told TASS.

"Review of immigration applications, essential emergency applications, as well as immigration applications that expire due to the age of the applicant, are reviewed in limited quantities," the U.S. embassy said.

In the spring, the United States closed consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

  USA, Russia