UPDATED 8:20 AM PT – Thursday, July 18, 2019
A popular school for the children of foreign diplomats in Russia is reportedly denying visas to dozens of U.S. teachers.
U.S. and U.K. embassy officials confirmed 30 teachers who were set to begin teaching next month at the Anglo-American School of Moscow have not received visas.
Russia’s foreign ministry declined to comment on why the Kremlin made the move, but lawmakers suggest its meant to add pressure on the U.S. government to scale back on sanctions against the country.
State Department officials are speaking out against the move, saying its unfair to use the children of diplomats as “political pawns.”
“Most of the children now are children of business people working in Russia, and those would be the children who would be first to be denied the services of the school,” explained Alexis Rodzianko, President of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Russia has attemtped to use the school for political leverage in the past. Back in 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly threatened to close the school in retaliation against the Obama administration for imposing sanctions related to Russia’s election meddling.