Former US diplomat Victoria Nuland, best known for distributing cookies to protesters during the US-backed 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, has suddenly found out she was on a visa blacklist as she sought to enter Russia.
The former US ambassador to NATO and assistant secretary of state for Eurasia is best known for supporting the coup in Ukraine that ousted the government in Kiev, and dismissing the concerns of Washington’s European allies about meddling in Ukraine (“F*** the EU”) in the same conversation she brought up bringing then-VP Joe Biden to “midwife this thing.”
She has been an outspoken advocate of anti-Russian sanctions since 2014, and just last month openly expressed doubt in Russia’s commitment to the idea of improving relations with the US, calling on Washington to “steel itself” for a “very long game that outlasts” the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
This month, however, she decided to visit the country she has denounced as an arch-nemesis of freedom, in order to take part in a closed-door conference organized by the Russian and the German councils on foreign relations.
Nuland’s plans hit a snag when she was denied an entry visa to Russia. The former State Department official, who once discussed the composition of a new Ukrainian regime with the US ambassador to Ukraine just weeks ahead of the coup, found herself on a blacklist compiled by Russia in response to the personal sanctions imposed against Russian officials by Washington.
The democracy-loving cookie distributor thus joined former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul in the ranks of former US officials barred from Russia.
The ‘land of the free’ itself has a long history of denying visas to foreign officials, even those coming on official business.
In early May, a group of Russian diplomats who were supposed to take part in a preparatory committee meeting ahead of the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference were denied US visas. The move sparked an angry response from Moscow, and the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department even said the conference itself should be moved to another country if such US actions continue.
In another instance, the US denied a visa to the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, forcing him to miss the UN Freedom of Press event. Earlier, the US barred entry to the head of the Russian delegation planning to take part in the UN disarmament conference and the UN Secretary General’s adviser from Russia, Dmitry Poklonsky, who was supposed to address a special briefing at a session of the UN Security Council on April 25.