Moscow calls U.S. visa move attempt to stir up unrest in Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting with his Bolivian counterpart Fernando Huanacuni Mamani in Moscow, Russia August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that a U.S. decision to sharply scale back its visa services in Russia was an attempt to stir up ill-feeling among ordinary Russians against the authorities.

Lavrov, speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, was responding to a question about a U.S. decision to reduce its visa services in Russia after Moscow ordered the United States to sharply cut its diplomatic and technical staff.

“The American authors of these decisions have come up with another attempt to stir up discontent among Russian citizens about the actions of the Russian authorities. It’s a well known logic ... and this it the logic of those who organize color revolutions,” Lavrov told reporters.

Lavrov, who said the decision suggested Washington didn’t think its reduced diplomatic staff could adapt to new circumstances, said Russia would carefully study the U.S. decision and promised that Moscow would not take out its anger on ordinary U.S. citizens.

Reporting by Polina Devitt and Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov