UK Visa Issuance in St. Petersburg Not Under Threat, Despite Johnson's Statement

© REUTERS / Hannah McKayBritain's Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, arrives at the BBC to appear on the Andrew Marr Show, in central London, Britain March 18, 2018
Britain's Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, arrives at the BBC to appear on the Andrew Marr Show, in central London, Britain March 18, 2018 - Sputnik International
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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that the closure of the consulate in Russia’s “northern capital” will deprive ordinary Russians of opportunities to apply for visas. The closure of the consulate was Moscow’s reaction to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK over allegations of Russian involvement in the poisoning of ex-spy.

"Yesterday the Kremlin said it would close the British Council and our Consulate in St Petersburg. These futile measures will only punish ordinary Russians by depriving them of harmless opportunities to learn English and apply for UK visas," UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson wrote in his op-ed article for The Sun newspaper published on March 18.

READ MORE: Berlin's Solidarity With UK Over Skripal Case May Harm Ties With Russia — AfD

Despite the warnings from the UK minister, the visa center in St Petersburg has issued a notice that despite the UK consulate in the city being closed, Russian citizens can still apply for UK visas and no limitations will be imposed. However, it warns potential applicants that the process of approval may take longer than before, urging all who wish to apply to do so in advance (at least 1,5 months before the estimated date of their trip).

READ MORE: Russia Mulls Response to UK Over 'Losses' Caused by Diplomat's Expulsion

London has accused Moscow of poisoning ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal using a military-grade nerve agent and announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the country, downgrading the level of bilateral relations. In response to what Moscow calls "unproven accusations," the Russian foreign ministry announced a tit-for-tat measure against British diplomats, as well as the closure of the UK consulate in St Petersburg.

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