Lavrov granted US visa to attend UNGA: Russian Foreign Ministry
The Russian Foreign Ministry says Russia's FM and a number of accompanying persons have been granted US visas to participate in the UNGA's 77th session.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a number of accompanying persons have been granted US visas to participate in the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
"Today, Lavrov and a number of accompanying persons have been granted [US] visas," the Ministry told reporters.
The Russian Ministry indicated that it expected the issuance of US visas for other members of the Russian delegation and prompt resolution of the logistical issues.
The UNGA 77, which will run from September 13-27 with high-level debate set to begin on September 20, marks the first in-person gathering of the body since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Sergey Leonidchenko, the head of the legal section of Russia's Permanent Mission to the UN, said during a UN committee meeting, that Russia expects US visas will be provided immediately to the Russian delegation to participate in the High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly session.
"This is an unprecedented situation... We expect the host state to issue visas to the minister, his delegation, and all accompanying persons as soon as possible, as envisioned by the agreement," Leonidchenko said.
He further stated that due to the US visa policy, 34 Russian Permanent Mission UN diplomats and members of their families are unable to travel to their motherland, including for humanitarian reasons.
According to Leonidchenko, the only solution to resolve the issue of non-issuance of US visas to Russian diplomats is for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to initiate an arbitration procedure.
European Council fully suspends visa facilitation for Russians
Only last week, the European Council announced that it has fully suspended visa facilitation between the EU and Russia, thus reversing the agreement that served to simplify visa applications for Russian citizens.
In a statement on its website, the council explained that the decision will entail increasing visa fees from €35 to €80 - more than double the initial agreement. More restrictive rules will also be implemented regarding multiple-entry visas.
It is worth noting that the EU will lose around €21 billion ($20.97 billion) if it bars Russian tourists from entering the bloc, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on his official Telegram channel, commenting on what he called "the frenzy of proposals to ban our citizens from entering the EU continues."
"Today’s decision is a direct consequence of Russia’s actions and further proof of our unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people," claimed Vit Rakusan, Czech Interior Minister, in a statement.
Read next: Russian official: EU suspension of visas to be met with consequences
Last month, the Russian administration sent a notice letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres concerning the United States' neglect of its responsibilities as the host country of the organization's headquarters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Lavrov stated that with the US being the host country of the UN Headquarters, it has the legal obligation to all members of the organization to take the extra mile so work can proceed smoothly and participation among all members is equal, adding that Russia sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Guterres, calling attention to his responsibility to require the US to "behave decently".
This comes after the United Nations Human Rights Council attempted to suspend Russia's membership in the sub-organization per US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's request.
In response to a question regarding Russia's participation in the UN General Assembly this September, Lavrov stressed that "Russia cannot be unrepresented at the UN, and Western countries are not allowed to decide these issues," adding, "As for the level of our presence there - whether it will be a delegation from Moscow or, as you said, our American colleagues will prohibit the arrival of our delegation in the spirit of their liberty - we'll see."