The U.S. State Department classified Russians seeking U.S. visas as "Homeless Nationalities. The report is published on the site of the Department.
It is specified that this category includes citizens of those countries where the United States does not have consular representation or the political situation of which is considered so unstable that does not allow the employees of the diplomatic mission to consider visa applications of their citizens. In such a case, applicants are assigned to the consulate of one or more neighboring countries.
It is noted that at present the Russians can apply for an American visa in the Polish capital Warsaw. In total, the list of "homeless nationalities" includes the citizens of ten countries. Among them, Venezuela, Yemen, Iran, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
The strained relations between Russia and the U.S. have been affecting diplomatic efforts in both countries for years. Another strain came in August, when the U.S. brought the composition of its diplomatic missions in line with new requirements from the Russian government. Now Washington can't hire Russians and citizens of third countries to work at American embassies and consulates. Commenting on the situation, US Ambassador in Russia, John Sullivan said that because of these measures the number of US diplomats in Russia will be reduced to 120 people.
After this, the US State Department announced the need for 24 Russian diplomats to renew their visas or leave the country. However, according to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian side acted strictly in accordance with the rules of the host country. "We sent the documents to the Department of State in advance and strictly within the prescribed time limits. However, there was no response," he said.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
On October 5, U.S. senators called on President Joe Biden to give Russia an ultimatum: Moscow must expand the U.S. Embassy or 300 Russian diplomats will be expelled from Washington. The Foreign Ministry responded by saying that there aren't that many Russian diplomats in Washington. The Foreign Ministry suggested that the congressmen, "lacking any relevant knowledge of international affairs," had also counted the number of Russian diplomats working at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
Amid another wave of diplomatic tensions, U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, who has been banned from entering Russia since 2019, visited Moscow. In the capital, the American diplomat met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. They discussed strategic stability issues and prospects for continued work in this area. In addition, she held a meeting with the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Dmitry Kozak, during which the politicians discussed the need to agree on the special status of Donbass for further settlement.
Previously, it was reported that Moscow set a condition for issuing Nuland a visa. In particular, the Russian side demanded that Washington issue an entry permit to Konstantin Vorontsov, a specialist of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, who has not been able to get a visa since 2019. Besides him, several other Russian diplomats, representatives of Roscosmos and the Ministry of Defense did not receive U.S. visas.
The end of all restrictions
On October 13, Ned Price, head of the press service of the Department of State, responded to a question about how the United States might react to the proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry to lift all mutual restrictions concerning the work of foreign missions. According to him, diplomacy should be left to people like Victoria Nuland. "We expect parity on staffing levels, we expect reciprocity on visas," he stressed.
Price urged Russia to show "fairness and flexibility" to reach agreements, and noted that the countries have agreed to another round of talks. "We hope that continued dialogue will allow us to find a solution so that our mission in Moscow can continue to work normally," the American politician concluded.
The U.S. proposal to remove all mutual restrictions in recent years was made the day before by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov during his meeting with Nuland. He noted that "hostile anti-Russian actions will not go unanswered," but that Moscow is not seeking further escalation.