US equates visa holders from Russia with ‘homeless nations’

The US State Department has ranked Russian citizens who want to obtain visas among so-called “homeless nationalities.” This category includes countries with which the United States has no consular relations, where the political situation is too unstable or the country has a limited number of consular staff, according to the Currenttime portal.

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The same category includes people from Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, according to a State Department document.

With the inclusion of Russia in this list, visa holders must submit applications to the US Consular Section in Poland.

Maria Zakharov, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, has already called the new rules a “mockery on the brink of sadism” and accuses the United States of “undermining their own ideals of freedom.”

The US decision to include Russians in this category is a consequence of the events of recent years, when Russia has regularly demanded a reduction in the number of US diplomatic missions in Russia and expelled US diplomats.

Since 2017, the issuance of visas to Russian citizens has been limited. Initially, they could be registered in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, but later – only in Moscow.

In April last year, Kremlin owner Vladimir Putin banned Russian citizens from working in US missions. The United States said it would lay off 182 local staff and that the consular service would not be able to process many visa applications and that consular services could be suspended altogether.

The ban on citizens working for US missions was a response to the extension of US sanctions against Russia in connection with cyber attacks.