On Sunday, Russia announced that the United States had refused visas to journalists seeking to cover Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s trip to New York. Lavrov indicated that Moscow would respond with forceful countermeasures.
At the time of writing, the U.S. State Department had not yet commented on the visa refusals. The journalists planned to report on Lavrov’s appearance at the United Nations, which was intended to mark Russia’s leadership of the Security Council.
Lavrov, before departing Moscow on Sunday, expressed his displeasure, stating that “a country that claims to be the strongest, smartest, free and fair country has backed down and done something foolish by revealing what its sworn commitments to safeguarding freedom of speech and access to information are actually worth.”
“We will not forget and we will not forgive,” he added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made it clear that Moscow will find ways to retaliate in such a way that the Americans will remember the incident for a long time to come. “I emphasize that we will find ways to respond to this, so that the Americans will remember for a long time not to do this,” he said.
This dispute comes amidst heightened tensions with Washington over the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich last month, whom Russia has accused of spying. The United States has declared his detention to be “wrongful.”
Since Russia dispatched troops to Ukraine, numerous Western journalists stationed in Moscow have left the country. Furthermore, foreign journalists in Russia are now required to renew their visas and accreditation every three months, which is a significant increase compared to the previous once-a-year renewal.