Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has reiterated Moscow’s readiness to respond to Washington’s decision to deny Russian delegates visas to participate in UN General Assembly events earlier this month.
“Speaking of whether we will unleash a visa war, you know, this war is [already] going on and it was the United States which began it”, Ryabkov said in interview with the Mezhunarodnaya Zhizn (International Life) magazine.
He noted that Russian diplomats have repeatedly urged their American counterparts to reach a consensus on the matter rather than act in line with the “eye-for-eye” principle.
“So far, all the efforts have been in vain. Apparently, our priorities run counter to the ones hammered out by those who elaborate Washington’s Russian policy. It seems that they confine themselves to trying to talk with us from a position of strength even though it’s clear to everyone that such a policy is doomed to fail,” Ryabkov added.
Russian FM Lavrov Pledges ‘Response’ to US’ Visa Denial
The statement came a few days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Moscow cannot leave the situation around the visa denial “without response.”
“And we will certainly take this situation into consideration the next time when international events are held in New York or elsewhere on US territory. We will check and recheck 10 times if officials who issue visas have received any instructions from their leadership, particularly the State Department,” Lavrov said.
Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed that the US’ reluctance to provide visas to Russian officials who were to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was an act of disrespect.
The ministry also refuted claims that the officials had failed to provide documents for visas in good time.
"The US side refers to a technical problem, to the deadline for submitting documents. This is not true. Documents have been submitted under a deadline provided by US diplomats. The documents that were submitted earlier, a couple of months prior to travel, have been returned, it has been said that the documents have been submitted too early,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out.
She previously said that several members of the Russian delegation did not receive visas to participate in the high-level week of the UNGA’s 74th session which runs from 24-30 September in New York. In total, 10 members of the delegation did not receive their visas, including the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s General Secretariat Sergey Butin as well as senior lawmakers Konstantin Kosachev and Leonid Slutsky.
The Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the situation demanded a tough reaction from Moscow and the United Nations, adding that the visa refusal was a direct violation of Washington's international obligations.