US Embassy Suspending Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas 'Demarche' - Russian Senator

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Russia will give a "mirror" response to the move by the US Embassy and consulates limiting their visa operations as they prepare for staff cuts by September 1, a Russian senator told Sputnik on Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Andrei Klimov, the head of the commission on state sovereignty protection of the Russian Federation Council, was responding to the US Embassy's announcement stating that nonimmigrant visa processing would be suspended on August 23.

"This is of course a demarche. We cannot stay in debt. Everything here is obviously going to be mirrored," Klimov said.

A general view taken on July 31, 2017 shows the US embassy building in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin on July 30, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The US Embassy said earlier in the day that Moscow's requirement to cut its staff to 455 diplomats and technical personnel would also affect "the scheduling of a limited number of immigrant visa applications."

The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 28 suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the US to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1. The move came amid a new US anti-Russia sanctions bill and follows a series of restriction measures imposed by Washington since 2014. It is similar to Washington's decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and suspend the use of diplomatic assets by Moscow in late 2016.

On July 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US would have to cut its diplomatic presence by 755 people.

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