US is making it hard for Aeroflot crews to get visas

File photo showing the Russian carrier Aeroflot air crew who are facing difficulties in obtaining US visas. (Reuters)
Updated 20 April 2018

US is making it hard for Aeroflot crews to get visas

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Friday that the United States was deliberately making it difficult for Aeroflot crews to obtain US visas and that it was concerned by the situation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the hold-ups appeared deliberate because it was “obvious there are no objective reasons for the Americans to have difficulties with visa activity here.”
“Of course we are concerned and would not like this development of events,” Peskov said.
The United States has imposed a series of punitive measures on Russia including expelling dozens of Russian diplomats over a poisoning case in Britain. Moscow responded by expelling 60 US diplomats.
The head of the consular section of the US Embassy in Moscow told Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper on Thursday that it was having difficulties issuing urgent visas to pilots because of a shortage of staff.
Aeroflot told Reuters it had appealed to the Russian Foreign and Transport Ministries for assistance because its crews were not being issued visas.
“We think there are currently enough people with visas to maintain flights for several months,” an Aeroflot spokesperson said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it could not rule out the possibility that flights between Russia and the United States might have to be stopped. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Dmitry Antonov Editing by Alison Williams)


WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

Updated 5 min 58 sec ago

WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

  • The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing
  • The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings

LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear in court as he fights extradition to the United States on charges of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing. Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.
US authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.
The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings.
The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, and outside the courthouse others carried placards calling for Assange to be released.
Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London while the extradition case is being prepared. He is facing a number of serious charges including espionage.
The first extended hearing is set for early next year but may be delayed.
Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.