The US Embassy in Russia announced that starting 12 May it would only provide consular services to US citizens in emergency situations, and would also cease non-immigrant visa processing for non-diplomatic travel.
“Effective 12 May, U.S. Embassy Moscow will reduce consular services offered to include only emergency U.S. citizen services and a very limited number of age-out and life or death emergency immigrant visas. These service reductions are necessary due to the Russian government’s 23 April notification of its intention to prohibit U.S. Mission Russia from employing foreign nationals in any capacity. Non-immigrant visa processing for non-diplomatic travel will cease,” the embassy said in a press release.
The embassy also called on US citizens present in Russia to leave the country before 15 June if their visa expires.
The US embassy expressed regret over the fact that it was forced to reduce consular work force by 75 percent because of “actions of the Russian government.”
On 15 April, the United States imposed new sanctions against Russia, affecting 32 individuals and organizations. The sanctions also prohibit US financial institutions from buying Russian government bonds during the initial placement after 14 June.
The next day, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory measures, among which were the proportionate expulsion of US diplomatic mission staff, termination of activities in the country of US funds and NGOs controlled by the State Department and other US government agencies, and a ban for eight current and former US officials from entering Russia indefinitely.