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    A general view taken on July 31, 2017 shows the US embassy building in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin on July 30, 2017

    US Embassy's Move on Russian Visas 'Proof of Further Deterioration of Ties' - MP

    © AFP 2018 / Mladen ANTONOV
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    US Curbs Visa Operations in Russia (12)
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    The United States limiting the operations of its embassy in Russia evidences Washington’s attitude for further forced deterioration of relations with Moscow, Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's International Affairs Committee, said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Earlier in the day the US embassy announced that non-immigrant visa processing would be suspended on Wednesday, August 23.

    "We believe this to be evidence of Washington’s attitude for further forced deterioration of relations with Moscow. We shall speak of this on all parliamentary platforms, including international ones. We shall speak of the irrationality of such approach," Slutsky said as quoted by the Russian State Duma’s social media page.

    The Russian lawmaker added that the initiatives aimed at further deterioration of bilateral ties were always voiced by the United States, not by Russia.

    "The initiative of further deterioration — whether it is the expulsion of the Russian diplomats, or the 'amputation' of our diplomatic property or limitation of places issuing visas — always comes from the US side,'' the official added.

    According to Slutsky, Monday's move of Washington will harm the interests of the Russians either having relatives in the United States or having contacts with this country in the areas related to business as well as civil society.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the dat that Moscow is considering possible response to Washington's move.

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

    Despite several attempts to normalize ties, both Russian and US officials have recently called the bilateral relations worst in decades.

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    US Curbs Visa Operations in Russia (12)

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    Tags:
    diplomatic staff, visa, anti-Russian sanctions, Leonid Slutsky, United States, Russia
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