LONDON: The United States has refused to renew the visas of 24 Russian diplomats and ordered them to leave the country by September 3.
Russia’s ambassador Anatoly Antonov said 24 diplomats had been asked to leave the United States by September 3 after their visas expired, according to the World News Agency.
In an interview with a British magazine, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, added that almost all diplomats had been forced to return home from the United States without any alternative.
The Russian ambassador described the US move as “retaliatory” and accused the United States of discriminating unjustifiably, suddenly tightening visa requirements.
On the other hand, US State Department spokesman Ned Price has denied the Russian ambassador’s allegations, saying that this is neither retaliation nor anything new. Russians have to apply for an extension of their visa after 3 years, which is decided after scrutiny.
However, the US spokesman did not specify what happened to the 24 diplomats’ visa renewal applications, which were rejected outright.
Tensions between the United States and Russia have been running high for years, but new US President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16 to ease tensions.