Interfax: Russian Foreign Ministry against tying U.S. diplomatic staff cuts to visa matters

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) – Moscow said that tying the reduction of United States diplomatic staff in Russia to visa processing times was unacceptable.

“Tying staff cuts to visa processing does not withstand any criticism, because no one was expelling the Americans, no one dictated, nor indicated who is to be sent home and who is to stay put. Therefore, if Washington decides to reduce the number of the people involved precisely with visa matters, that will be Washington’s decision – sovereign, well-considered, and by no means a forced one,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

“If the issuance of U.S. visas gets further protracted, as sources have actively been hinting at, this will be a dual-purpose blow,” Zakharova said. “First, [a blow] to Trump, a kind of another wave of sabotage of foreign-policy decisions. Don’t forget, the State Department was for four years led by Hillary Clinton who placed her people in all key (and not only) posts,” Zakharova said.

Earlier on Tuesday the U.S. Embassy in Moscow dismissed the accusations that the number of U.S. visa refusals was deliberately increased in view of the recent events in the relations between the two countries.