The embassy's announcement is just the latest episode in a diplomatic spat between the countries after the U.S. Congress passed fresh sanctions against Russian Federation in late July, which President Donald Trump begrudgingly signed into law on August 2.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Responding to a question regarding possible retaliatory measures by Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "We will not take it out on American citizens".
In a step that could affect hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists, the U.S. Embassy in Russia said Monday it would suspend issuing nonimmigrant visas for eight days from Wednesday in response to the Russian decision to cap embassy staff. 1 but remain suspended at its consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladisvostok indefinitely.
Lavrov believes that the visa decision was made to worsen Russian citizens" attitude toward the authorities, and added the move resembled the logic of the masterminds of the "color revolutions, ' as well as "the purest form of the inertia of the Obama administration".
Asked about a possible Russian reaction, Lavrov said Russia will "study" the embassy's announcement, adding that unlike the US government Russia "is not going to take it out on USA citizens". "I can only say that we will not take it out on United States citizens, that is, if someone hoped that in that case one fool makes many, they were mistaken".
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"This scenario would be like all of America suddenly only having one office in Los Angeles to process (visa applications from) New York, Chicago, DC, Boston, and Miami".
Visa operations at the US consulates, located in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, will "remain suspended indefinitely", according to Reuters.
Outside the USA consulate in Yekaterinburg, in the Ural mountains, a Reuters reporter saw a man unsuccessfully pleading with staff to accept his visa documents a day early.
"Requests for academic programs in the United States were rather active, but not all clients could get them even before the imposed restrictions, as the visa-issuing procedures this year have been already excessively long", the director of the department for education overseas of BSI GROUP tour operator, Irina Naumova, commented. As part of that response, the US took back two compounds used by the Russians, one in NY and one on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
He added that the US argument that its diplomatic workers can not issue the same number of visas with reduced staff disrespected the "capabilities and possibilities of the American diplomatic service". Moscow has denied meddling in the election and Trump denies any campaign collusion.
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