Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova told the media that the Russian consular offices in the United States are drained of personnel due to the refusal of the US Department of State to issue visas to our new employees to replace those who have completed their business trip over there. According to Maria, despite the obstacles posed by Washington, Russian consular offices in the United States continue to issue visas in full. Maria Zakhorova accused the US Department of States for not issuing a US visa to famous Russian Olympic Champion Maria Lasitskene for participating in Diamond League Competition in the United States while referring to the shortage of personnel in the US mission, a reason which does not exist.
Maria said that thousands of Russian citizens are waiting for issuance of visas, however US Diplomats in Russia informed the Russian Citizens to apply for visas from any other country instead of their homeland, Russia. According to Maria, US authorities had also adopted a corrosive approach toward Russian exports through imposition of heavy anti-dumping duty against various non-fuel exporting goods such as steel pipe, fertilizers, and others. According to Russian media, the US action against Russian goods is based on a unilateral biased approach because Russian pipes are being sold at the lowest price as compared to other countries’ products whereas the US Department of Commerce had imposed a 209.72 % anti-dumping duty on Russian steel pipe in bid to crush its import.
US-Russia bilateral relations had witnessed record low during the recent past after the cessation of cold war. After assuming office by the President Biden, the bilateral relations went through a sharp decline due to increasing US offensive against Russia on a wide range of issues including human rights, support of Russian Opposition leader Alexey Navalny, imposition of sanctions on Russia, maligning Russia for bullying with Ukraine, cyberattacks and interference in US elections, imposition of tariff on Russian exports, and halting issuance of visas to Russian citizens. The issue of visa issuance emerged recently when Russia imposed a limit on hiring of local employees by the foreign diplomatic missions in Moscow in April this year. Russia’s action was promptly reciprocated by the United States by halting issuance of visas to Russian nationals from US missions in Russia from May 12, 2021. US Embassy Moscow said that it is going to cut down its Consular staff by 75 percent after imposing a limit on hiring of local staff by the Russian government. The US Embassy said that it would stop issuing US visas to non-immigrant applicants except in emergency cases. Whereas the Russian government urged the US to bring in its accredited staff of US nationals in its missions in Russia because presently only 280 US Diplomats are working in Russia instead of mutually agreed numbers of 455.
Both Russia and the United States term each other’s action unfriendly besides doing the same at their own end. Both Countries are taking very calculated moves aimed at targeting each other’s interests. Both sides have a lot of options at diplomatic level to satisfy their grudges, however this tit for tat policy is counterproductive and neither side can get much out of it. All these policies and measures are driven by security concerns which do not have much significance or can be catered for through other means. Presumably, both nations must continue the race of dominance but focus on big objectives instead of such trivial things which affect the public more instead of the governments.