One of the goals of the new US Ambassador to Russia, Lynn Tracy, is to resume issuing US visas to Russians andincrease the number of embassy staff, said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“She will focus on the leadership of the embassy, maintaining bilateral relations during a period of extremely high tension, and working with the Russian authorities to improve the staffing of the American embassy,” RBC quotes him.
An increase in the number of employees is necessary to resume the basic functions of the embassy, including issuing visas, Price explained.
The US Embassy in Russia has not issued visas to Russians since the spring of 2021, except for diplomatic and immigration visas. At the same time, Russian citizens can still obtain a visa at the US Embassy in other countries.
The refusal to issue visas to Russians is due to the actions of the Russian government, the State Department spokesman explained. In April 2021, the Russian authorities banned the employment of Russians and citizens of third countries in the embassy, he recalled.
“This decision alone meant that we had to lay off more than 180 employees. Many of these employees previously worked in our consular department, which processes visas,” Price explained. He added that the effective work of the Russian and US embassies, including the ability to issue visas, is in the interests of both countries.
Lynn Tracy was nominated as US Ambassador to Russia by President Joe Biden in September 2022. Her appointment was approved by Congress at the end of December. She became the first female US ambassador to Russia in the history of bilateral relations.
Prior to that, Lynn Tracy served as Deputy Ambassador at the US Embassy in Moscow from 2014 to 2017. Later in the United States, she became chief adviser on Russian affairs at the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Since 2019, she has headed the US Embassy in Armenia.
The previous ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, stepped down in September 2022 due to his wife’s illness. She had been ill with cancer for a long time, her condition worsened sharply in early autumn. She died September 5th.
Sullivan emphasized that his departure had nothing to do with the Russian war in Ukraine or with the policies of the Biden administration.