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US embassy in Moscow to limit consular services


US embassy in Moscow to limit consular services

US embassy moscow
Photo: Ivan Sekretarev/AP

The US embassy in Moscow will reduce their consular services and staff beginning today.

A law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 23 allows the country to limit the number of local staff working at foreign diplomatic missions. In response to Moscow’s actions, the US embassy stated that it would reduce its consular workforce by 75% and only offer emergency services.

Washington and Moscow have entered a new phase of heightened tensions, with relations believed to be at their lowest point since the Cold War. Putin’s recent moves are likely motivated by Washington’s expulsion of ten Russian diplomats and the imposition of wide-ranging sanctions surrounding Russia’s alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections and suspected involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies.

Expect further retaliation from Moscow as US sanctions provide a disproportionate impact on Russia’s economy. Moscow will likely continue to engage in provocative activities along the eastern Ukraine border as a way to demonstrate Russian military might and test Biden’s resolve. Whilst the Biden administration has expressed their desire for cooperation through a summit, expect the US embassy’s cutback to hinder chances of a constructive dialogue between both parties in the short- to medium-term.

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