Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed regret over the “escalation of tensions” after the US State Department ordered Russia to close several diplomatic offices in the US within 48 hours.
Moscow will carefully study the new measures the US announced and will inform Washington of its reaction, Lavrov said.
On August 23, the US embassy in Russia suspended all “nonimmigrant visa operations” in Russia, saying they will be resumed only in the main embassy building in Moscow on September 1.
“NIV [non-immigrant visa] interviews at the US Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice,” the embassy said in a statement.
“The first impression is that the American authors of these decisions made one more attempt to draw disfavor from Russian citizens toward the actions of the Russian authorities,” Lavrov said earlier in August.
Moscow later stated it would take no action in response to the US Embassy’s announcement on the processing of nonimmigrant visas, which Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described as “the horror that the Americans have created.”
Earlier this summer, Russia ordered the US diplomatic mission to bring its personnel in Russia down to 455 people, to match the numbers of Russian diplomatic staff. The US said it would need to downsize its embassy and consular staff by 755 as a consequence.