U.S. welcomes Russian visitors: ambassador

Updated 2017-09-24 11:00:50 Xinhua

The United States is not canceling visa programs for Russians, instead it wants as many Russians as possible to visit the country, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said Saturday.

"We are trying very hard to promote travel to the United States," Tefft said in a video interview posted on the official Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Russia.

"We are issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas. We are trying to increase our capacity to do that literally every single day," he said in response to worries that the embassy keeps Russians out of the United States amid tense bilateral relations.

In August, the U.S. mission suspended all non-immigrant visa operations across Russia for nine days and halted visa operations at the U.S. consulates indefinitely.

The visa freeze was in retaliation for Russia's cutting its U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people to 455 and a seizure of two U.S. properties in Moscow in July.

"We are working very hard at the American embassy to try to deal with the reduction of our staff, which was imposed upon us by the Russian government," Tefft said in the interview.

Moscow-Washington ties have reached a record low due to the ongoing war of mutual sanctions.

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