MOSCOW (AFP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday accused Washington of violating its international obligations by denying visas to a Russian delegation due to attend the U.N. General Assembly, and threatened “tough action” in response.
“It’s a worrisome situation, and such actions are not acceptable,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“This is a direct violation of Washington’s international obligations; this is not a bilateral visit.”
Washington’s actions called for a “tough reaction” from Moscow, Peskov said.
He urged the United Nations, which holds the General Assembly at its New York headquarters, to react as well.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook Tuesday that “a number of members of the official Russian delegation” had not received their U.S. visas.
The Russian foreign ministry summoned the deputy head of the U.S. mission in Moscow and handed him a protest note, Russian media reported.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow did not immediately comment.
Zakharova said Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov would raise the issue when he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York on Friday, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
Relations between Moscow and Washington are at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War, battered by accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Although Putin and President Donald Trump have sought to improve bilateral ties, they remain strained.
Trump administration officials regularly criticize Moscow for its policies, particularly toward Ukraine and Syria.
Earlier this year, Russia denied visas to teachers of the Anglo-American school in Moscow.
© Agence France-Presse