MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US embassy in Russia has declined to comment on the situation around the expedited visa issuing process for Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky in response to Sputnik's request, saying that it does not traditionally comment on such cases which involve private individuals.
"We don’t comment on the visa applications that have been submitted by private individuals. As we have said in the past, the Russian Federation's drastic imposed staffing cuts have caused a reduced capacity in our visa operations. As we have also said, however, we will give priority to selected nonimmigrant visa applications depending on our staff level and the purpose of travel," US embassy spokesperson Maria Olson, answering a question on Eugene Kaspersky's chances at receiving a US visa on an expedited basis.
Kaspersky said in a statement earlier in the day that he would give testimony at a US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing regarding the risks Kaspersky products allegedly pose to US information systems on September 27 if he received an expedited visa.
On Wednesday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke ordered all US federal departments and agencies to stop using Kaspersky Lab products within the next 90 days, saying that Kaspersky products represented a threat to security. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the move by saying that discriminatory steps against the Kaspersky Lab cast a shadow on the image of the United States as a reliable partner and represent "a manifestation of unfair competition."
Commenting on the decision, the Kaspersky Lab reiterated that it has no "inappropriate ties with any government," adding that the "allegations are completely unfounded."
Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov said earlier that response measures cannot be ruled out if the United States banned the use of Kaspersky Lab products.