The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is to be pared back to a skeleton service, eliminating almost all services except emergency assistance for Americans, following new Russian rules capping the number of Russians allowed to work in “unfriendly” countries’ embassies. Some 75 percent of consular staffers are expected to lose their jobs. The new rules, offering “only emergency U.S. citizen services,” start on May 12, the embassy said in a statement. “Embassy Moscow will not offer routine notarial services, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, or renewal passport services for the foreseeable future,” it specified, “Non-immigrant visa processing for non-diplomatic travel will cease.” U.S. citizens with expiring visas have been urged to leave the country by June 15 or file paperwork at the Russian interior ministry to remain there legally. Vladimir Putin’s decree signed last Friday comes amid a flurry of diplomatic expulsions over accusations of election interference and Russian involvement in deadly explosions in former Soviet bloc countries.
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