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Spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharov, claimed on Friday that Russian diplomats were unable to attend a United Nations forum in New York City after the U.S. denied them visas.
“The United States has refused to issue U.S. entry visas to Russian delegation head and Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs Igor Barinov, a Russian Foreign Ministry official, and a number of representatives of small indigenous peoples of the North of the Russian Federation,” the foreign ministry said in a Telegram post, adding the group had planned to travel to the U.S. on April 24.
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The State Department would not comment on Russia’s accusations and a spokesperson told Fox News, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
The Friday forum, which was held from April 25 to May 6, addressed helping Indigenous peoples with “economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights” – which could be an indicator as to why Russia was denied access.
The U.S. has been a leading contributor in providing Ukraine assistance following Russia’s deadly invasion on Feb. 24.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have repeatedly called on Moscow to stop its deadly invasion and Washington has vowed to continue backing Ukraine and eastern European allies in the face of Russian aggression.
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In March, the U.S., along with 140 other nations, voted with the U.N. General Assembly to pass a historic resolution condemning the invasion and demanding an immediate withdrawal.
Washington then joined 92 other nations last month in voting to suspend Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council.
President Biden has been vocal in condemning Russia as a “pariah” in the international sphere and called for Moscow’s ban from top international conventions like the G20 summit set for November.
The U.S. has sanctioned several top Russian authorities following its invasion, but it is unclear if any of the officials denied U.S. visas were included among these officials.
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The Russian foreign ministry accused the U.S. of conducting a “serious breach” in its commitment to the UN and threatened that there would be consequences.
“The obvious aim of this move is to escalate the confrontation with Russia at all costs by blocking any possibility of full-scale Russian representation and work at the UN venue,” the ministry said. “This aggressive attitude will certainly receive a response.”
It is unclear if Russia attended the conference virtually.