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Moscow Regrets US Decision to Deny Visas to Russia's Bolshoi Theater Artists

© Sputnik / Vladimir Vyatkin / Go to the photo bankBolshoi Theatre ballet dancer Olga Smirnova during a gala concert of the Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia and the Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir at the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Bolshoi Theatre ballet dancer Olga Smirnova during a gala concert of the Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia and the Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir at the historical stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The fact that artists from Russia's Bolshoi Theater were left without visas and were not able to travel to the United States for a gala in New York City is regrettable, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

The Bolshoi's prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and first soloist Jacopo Tissi were due to dance at a Lincoln Center gala in New York City on Monday. The two, however, were denied US non-migrant working visas, according to media reports. The press service of the theater, meanwhile, said that the incident took place because of a technical error.

READ MORE: Russian Ballet Dancers Denied US Visa Ahead of Concert

"For several years exhibition exchanges have been canceled. Now, by refusing to issue visas for a concert tour they want to cut another tie that connected the two nations. Moreover, they are trying to separate Americans from Russians with the help of a visa wall, to make the travels of our nationals to the United States almost impossible. We can only express our regret over such policies of Washington. It is unlikely that ordinary US citizens, who are deprived of communication with Russian culture and friends from Russia, would thank [the authorities]," the ministry's statement read.

The ministry noted that such incidents never took place even during the period of the Cold War.

© Sputnik / Vladimir Vyatkin / Go to the photo bankJacopo Tissi (Bolshoi Theater of Russia) at the gala concert of international ballet stars, Rudolf Nureyev. From the Past into the Future, shown as part of Andris Liepa’s Autographs and Images project at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow
Jacopo Tissi (Bolshoi Theater of Russia) at the gala concert of international ballet stars, Rudolf Nureyev. From the Past into the Future, shown as part of Andris Liepa’s Autographs and Images project at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow - Sputnik International
Jacopo Tissi (Bolshoi Theater of Russia) at the gala concert of international ballet stars, Rudolf Nureyev. From the Past into the Future, shown as part of Andris Liepa’s Autographs and Images project at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow
© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankBolshoi Theater prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and premier Artyom Ovcharenko perform a pas de deux from the Casse-Noisette Compagnie ballet at the Dancing About Love ballet night at the Russian Academic Youth Theater
Bolshoi Theater prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and premier Artyom Ovcharenko perform a pas de deux from the Casse-Noisette Compagnie ballet at the Dancing About Love ballet night at the Russian Academic Youth Theater - Sputnik International
Bolshoi Theater prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and premier Artyom Ovcharenko perform a pas de deux from the Casse-Noisette Compagnie ballet at the Dancing About Love ballet night at the Russian Academic Youth Theater

Relations between Russia and the West in general worsened in 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in Ukrainian domestic affairs and Crimea's reunification with Russia. These tensions have significantly escalated in recent months over the Skripal poisoning case and US-led strikes on Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Aeroflot's Boeing 777 at Sheremetyevo international airport. - Sputnik International
US Creates Obstacles to Issuance of US Visas to Russian Pilots – Kremlin
The move followed the expulsion of Russian diplomats from over 25 countries amid accusations that Moscow orchestrated the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal with the A234 agent in the UK city of Salisbury. Russia has repeatedly refuted these claims as groundless.

Earlier in April, the United States introduced yet another round of sanctions against Russia over Moscow's alleged global destabilization efforts. Among the individuals and entities affected by the US sanctions were several Russian businessmen and companies controlled by them, as well as a number of high-ranking Russian officials.

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