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Russia to Grant Some Visas to U.S.-Embassy Backed Moscow School

Sergei Fadeichev / TASS

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has softened its refusal to issue visas for teachers at a Moscow school run by the U.S., British and Canadian embassies amid signs of a slight thaw in tensions between the Kremlin and Washington.

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued seven of the 30 visas requested, which will allow all current students to return, according to an email sent to parents by Rhonda Norris, the director of the Anglo-American School of Moscow. Because of the lack of availability of teachers, the school can’t yet confirm enrollment to some 50 new pupils, she said.

Russia last month blocked visas for 30 teachers and administrators at the school, founded in 1949 by the U.S., British and Canadian governments to educate the children of diplomats, in a move U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said used children “as pawns in diplomatic disputes.” Moscow accused the U.S. of misrepresenting the situation, saying it denied only teachers who had applied for visas as embassy employees with diplomatic passports.

Spokeswomen for the U.S. Embassy and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

The deal comes as President Donald Trump called Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to offer help battling wildfires raging across Siberia. The Russian leader declined assistance but said it was a sign that the two countries could restore “full-fledged relations” in the future.

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