U.S. Consulates Resume Visa Services in Russia
(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2017)
U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok have resumed processing applications for travel visas, after suspending their work this summer as relations between Washington and Moscow soured.
The U.S. Embassy has warned consulate services might still be affected by low staff numbers.
The consulates temporarily suspended processing non-immigrant visas in August after Russia ordered the U.S. to cut its staff to 455. The move came after U.S. President Donald Trump signed fresh sanctions against Russia in July.
Read more: U.S. Embassy in Moscow Suspends Non-Immigrant Visas for Russians
Before this week, Russians seeking a visa had to either travel to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or to apply at embassies in neighboring countries.
In an online statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it considered the move to resume services “a step in the right direction.” It added, however, that the decision to cut the number of staff working on visa processing was made in Washington, not in Moscow.
“This was done deliberately – to create inconveniences for Russians and to provoke societal discontent.”
In comments to the state-funded TASS news agency, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there were still “a number of acute problems that have not yet been resolved” between the two countries.