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Russia said on Friday it was recommending that its citizens not travel to Britain, complaining that authorities there were making it “virtually impossible” for Russians to obtain visas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry alleged Russian applications were being delayed because Britain was giving higher priority to Ukrainian refugees.

It said Russians were also unable to pay on the British website via Mastercard and Visa, which have both suspended their operations in Russia.

“Taking into account the extremely unfriendly course of the UK towards our country, in order to avoid financial losses and other possible problems, we recommend that Russian citizens refrain, if possible, from travelling to the UK and trying to obtain British visas,” it said.

Russia bans entry to British PM Johnson

“Until the situation normalises, we will act in the same way with respect to the British.”

The British actions were “a politically motivated infringement of the rights of Russian citizens,” the ministry said.

A spokesperson for the British interior ministry, the Home Office, said: “There are currently no restrictions or limitations for Russian nationals to work in the UK on long-term work visas.”

“We are prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, so applications for study, work and family visas have taken longer to process.”

Tensions between Moscow and London have ratcheted up in recent weeks, with Britain announcing fresh sanctions on Putin’s financial network on Friday over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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