The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who is in the United States to participate in events on the UN line, talked about the process of getting him an American visa. According to the general, despite the sanctions, he managed to enter the US "without problems," TASS reports.
Kolokoltsov arrived at the UN's New York headquarters to attend a meeting of heads of police departments of member states of the organization. During the visit, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs met with the UN Deputy Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, discussing with him the participation of Russian policemen in peacekeeping missions.
After the meeting, the journalists turned to Kolokoltsov with a question about the details of getting him an American visa. "I see no special problems and did not feel any problems," the Interior Minister replied.
Together with a number of other Russian officials and businessmen, Kolokoltsov was on the US Ministry of Finance's sanctions list in April. This list was prepared on the basis of the "Kremlin report" of the ministry, which included all members of the government of Dmitry Medvedev.
According to the American legislation, persons on the sanctions list are prohibited from entering the territory of the United States. In addition, all US companies are prohibited from maintaining contacts and business relations with them, and the assets of individuals under sanctions are subject to freezing.
Despite this, even before the figurants of the sanctions sheets managed to get to the United States. So, in February a wide response was caused by a working visit by representatives of Russian law enforcement agencies to the United States. Sanctions also did not prevent to get an American visa to the head of the General Directorate of the General Staff of Russia, Igor Korobov, and the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin. Colonel-General Korobov was under US sanctions since December 2016 in connection with accusations of attempts to interfere in the election of the American president. Naryshkin was on the black list of the US Ministry of Finance even earlier, in 2014, in connection with the events in Ukraine.
Despite the sanctions, both received permission for a working visit to the United States. Together with them, the United States was visited by FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, who was sanctioned by the EU countries and Canada. In Washington, Russian siloviki held a number of interagency meetings with their American counterparts. So, Naryshkin met with the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo.
According to Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, Naryshkin's visit to the US was connected with Moscow's and Washington's cooperation in the field of combating terrorism. Information on this confirmed the head of the CIA. Pompeo explained the negotiations with the Russian intelligence authorities under the sanctions in Washington "to ensure the safety of Americans."
The US State Department explained that sanctions against the heads of Russian law enforcement agencies were suspended. "I can say that in most issues, if something is explained by the interests of US national security, we, like other countries, can suspend these [restrictions] so that people can come to the United States," State Department spokesman Heather Neuerte explained.