This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations has said it’s “alarming” that no one from the 56-member Russian advance team and delegation headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has received a U.S. entry visa to attend a UN General Assembly debate in New York later this month.
“This is even more alarming since for the last several months the authorities of the United States have been constantly refusing to grant entry visas to a number of Russian delegates assigned to take part in the official United Nations events,” Vasily Nebenzia said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Nebenzia said applications to attend the high-level UN meetings starting September 19 had been submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
United Nations associate spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez said on September 2 that the UN was “in close contact with the host country” to resolve the issue raised by Russia.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said the United States processes “hundreds of visas every year for Russian Federation delegates to UN events.”
The official said the United States repeatedly reminds all countries that it “needs applications as soon as possible” to ensure timely processing.
“This is especially important because of Russia’s unwarranted actions against our embassy in Russia, including the forced termination of local and third country national staff, which have severely limited our staffing and therefore our capacity to process visas,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Already sour relations between the United States and Russia have worsened dramatically since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.