US embassy in Moscow will cut back on visas as Putin forces staff limits

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The US embassy in Moscow will halt most visa services for Russian citizens in the coming weeks, in response to Vladimir Putin’s new restrictions on US personnel.

Only urgent services for Americans in Russia, diplomatic visas, and “a very limited number” of life-or-death emergency immigrant visas will be offered after May 12, the embassy announced Friday.

That’s when embassy staff in Moscow will be slashed by 75 percent, due to a new law signed by Putin to sharply limit the diplomatic personnel of countries deemed “unfriendly” to Russia.

The legislation, the latest in a series of sanctions and reprisals that the US and Russia have slapped on one another in the early weeks of President Joe Biden’s administration, was a fresh sign of strain between the two powers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed the rise in tensions on “the unfriendly actions of the United States.”

Peskov said Friday that Russia had “expected better” of Biden — and complained about “the load of negativity that we have accumulated over these 100 days” of his presidency.

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