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Not playing fair: U.S. refuses to process visas for Russian wrestling team

The move comes in the wake of the U.S. announcing solidarity with the U.K. on the Skripal poisoning

The Russian free style wrestling team has been refused visa interviews by the US embassy in Moscow. The team was looking forward to competing in the World Cup competition in Iowa City, which is now just days away.

The Russian Foreign Ministry submitted the requests in late April, only for the US Embassy to wait for an entire month before issuing its refusal to prepare visas for the Russian team. This action come on the heels of the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats from American soil, citing the Kremlin’s alleged complicity in the Skripal poisoning case, which took place earlier this month in Salisbury, as a manner of adding another tick on to the scoreboard of alleged international crimes by the Russian government. Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reports that:

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of trying to bar Russian wrestlers from an upcoming competition, in a move it says makes the United States unfit to host such international sports events.

The ministry on March 28 said the U.S. embassy in Moscow refused to arrange visa interviews for the Russian team ahead of the freestyle wrestling World Cup, which runs from April 5 to 9 in the U.S. state of Iowa.

The wrestling World Cup is an eight-team tournament which serves as the first major global competition of the season.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that the U.S. “refusal” to provide visas represents “direct and open discrimination” against Russia, although she acknowledged that the embassy is claiming that a shortage of staff is to blame for the delay in processing visas.

“It’s clearly impossible to hold international competitions on American territory any more — they don’t play fair,” Zakharova said.

“We are extremely indignant” over the incident, she said.

The ministry said in its statement that the U.S. embassy is blaming a “lack of consular personnel” for the problem.

Russia ordered the United States to slash its diplomatic staff by two-thirds to 455 last year in response to a U.S. order for Russia to cut its embassy staff in the United States.

Another round of diplomatic personnel cuts appears likely this year as the United States this week announced the expulsion of 60 Russian staff in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Russia has vowed to respond in kind.

It seems that the West literally doesn’t want to come to grips with Russia. First, Russia finds its athletes prevented from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics earlier this yearin Pyeongchang, then six European nations have announced their intention to boycott the World Soccer World Cup in Russia, and now America is blocking the participation of Russian wrestlers from the wrestling World Cup to be held in Iowa City. Not only do Western powers show that they have not desire to play ball with Russia politically or economically, they have demonstrated, and continue to, that they have no desire to relate to Russians on any level whatsoever.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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