US Decision To Limit Consular Services Limits Ability To Influence Russia

The best way to influence Russia is by engaging with Russia, not by self-isolating.

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st May, 2021) The US decision to limit consular services in Russia negatively affects its ability to maintain influence and conduct direct dialogue with Moscow on the ground, head of the Russian Public Affairs Committee (Ru-PAC), Hunter Cawood, told Sputnik on Thursday.

"The US Embassy move to limit consular services is extremely disappointing and I sincerely hope that it will be a temporary decision," Cawood said in an interview. "While the move certainly inconveniences Americans in Russia, what it really does is shoot the United States' ability to influence and dialogue with Russia in the foot."

In April, the US embassy in Russia announced that effective May 12 it will be providing limited consular services only to US citizens in emergency situations and will also cease non-immigrant visa processing for non-diplomatic travel. Later, the mission temporarily resumed routine US citizens service though the middle of July.

Cawood noted that maintaining those essential services is important for cultural and educational exchange.

"Less Russians being able to visit the United States translates into less Russians having positive experiences that influence them to see the United States as more friendly.

“The best way to influence Russia is by engaging with Russia - and not self-isolating," he said.

On April 15, the US imposed sanctions on 32 Russian entities and individuals as part of a new round of sanctions over Moscow's alleged cyberattacks and other hostile acts against US interests. Washington also ordered 10 Russiandiplomats out and prohibited US entities frompurchasing Russian government bonds during Primary placements.

Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy Bart Gorman to announce that 10 embassy employees must leave the country by the end of day on May 21.