Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 2, 2018

Newsline: US embassy, consulates in Russia plan to issue up to 200,000 visas in 2019

The US embassy and consulates plan to issue up to 200,000 visas across Russia in 2019, the embassy’s Minister Counsellor Michael Yoder told reporters in Vladivostok on Tuesday. “We did 250,000 in 2016. I don’t have yet figures for 2018, but I’m convinced that next year we will do about 150,000 to 200,000 visas across the country,” he said. According to the embassy official, the US visa denial rate in Russia is about 10%. On August 23, 2017, the US embassy suspended nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia as Moscow demanded that the US diplomatic staff in Russia should be reduced to 455 following the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States. Visa operations resumed on September 1, 2017, in Moscow and on December 11 in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. In March 2018, the US consulate in St. Petersburg was closed as a tit-for-tat response to the closing of the Russian consulate general in Seattle.



Newsline: U.S. closing consulate in southern Iraq amid unrest

The State Department is closing the U.S. consulate in Basra, Iraq, and evacuating diplomats who are stationed there. The move comes amid unrest in the city, including rocket attacks that came close to the consulate. The State Department said that it would temporarily close the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra following a rocket attack earlier this month blamed on Iranian-backed militias. Diplomatic staff and their families were being evacuated and consular services will be provided from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it a “temporary relocation” in response to what he called “increasing and specific threats” from the Iranian government and militias under its control. He warned that the U.S. would respond to any more attacks.