- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2017

The U.S. Embassy in Russia announced Monday that they were temporarily suspending applications for nonimmigrant visas in response to Russia’s expulsion of American diplomats.

“Due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, all nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on August 23. Operations will resume in Moscow on September 1; visa operations at the U.S. consulates will remain suspended indefinitely,” a statement from the U.S. Embassy said.

The response is the latest in a series of back-and-forth issues after President Trump signed a Russian sanctions bill last month. Russia later announced plans to scale back U.S. diplomatic staff in the country. The sanctions bill was originally passed as punishment for the Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Russia’s decision to reduce the United States’ diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia’s seriousness about pursuing better relations,” the U.S. Embassy also wrote in its statement.

Mr. Trump has made bettering relations with Russia a noted priority despite allegations that his campaign may have colluded with the government in last year’s election, something Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both deny.

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