August 02, 2021 – 21:31
Russia’s ambassador to the United States said Washington had asked 24 Russian diplomats to leave the country by September 3 after their visas expire.
Anatoly Antonov did not say whether the US request was prompted by any particular dispute. “Almost all of them will leave without being replaced because Washington has suddenly tightened visa procedures,” Antonov said in an interview with National Interest magazine published on Sunday.
But US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Russian ambassador’s description of the situation involving 24 Russian diplomats with expired US visas was incorrect.
Speaking at a news conference, the spokesman said Russian diplomats “can apply for an extension” of their visas and “such applications are considered on a case-by-case basis”.
Moscow and Washington have long had differing differences on a number of issues and that have worsened since US President Joe Biden said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a killer.
Tensions eased somewhat after President Biden met with President Putin for talks on June 16, which even led to the return of some foreign investors’ money in Russian government treasury bills.
“We hope that common sense will prevail and that we will be able to normalize the lives of Russian and American diplomats in the United States and Russia on the principle of reciprocity,” Antonov said.
Ambassador Antonov also said he hoped the recently launched dialogue between the United States and Russia on cyber security issues would continue. / VOA