"I see no direct connection between the economic part of the sanctions and visas. Our US colleagues are starting to intimidate us by saying that because of our decision to reduce the US diplomatic presence to the level we have in the United States the situation with visas for Russian citizens will become more complicated … You know, that does not sound convincing to me," Kislyak told the Russian Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
According to official statistics, the United States has issued some 160,000 visas to Russian citizens in 2016.
"However, our media say that European embassies that operate with far less diplomats issue two or three times more visas," Kislyak said, adding that if the United States takes development of relations between Russian and US citizens seriously, it "could easily provide issuance of all visas on time with the personnel they have under new norms."
Russia’s decision came as response to US expelling 35 Russian diplomats in December 2016, as well as banning access for Russia to two of its diplomatic compounds.