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‘It’s downshifting’: Reuters journalist prompts laughs at Russian Foreign Ministry briefing

‘It’s downshifting’: Reuters journalist prompts laughs at Russian Foreign Ministry briefing
An unprepared Reuters reporter, who simply couldn’t formulate his question at a Russian Foreign Ministry briefing, provided comic relief for his colleagues and raised doubts over his affiliation to the news agency.

The man, who introduced himself as Aleksandr Sheinikov from Reuters, asked spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to “clarify the situation around the student visas between Russia and US.”

However, it was his question that actually needed clarification, because no such issue has recently been raised between Moscow and Washington. The reporter was given a chance to explain what he was talking about, but couldn’t come up with anything clear.

“Are you really from Reuters?” Zakharova asked. “I don’t believe you. It’s downshifting,” she said, prompting laughter from other journalists.

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The reporter in question, meanwhile, got his phone out to Google an article on the issue of student visas without immediate success. Eventually, he approached Zakharova and handed her his phone. It turned out that he was referring to US media reports about teachers at an English-American school in Moscow being denied Russian visas.

Zakharova said that she had already commented extensively on this matter over a week ago. Back then, she pointed out that the US teachers would get their documents as soon as the Americans granted visas to workers at the Russian Embassy in Washington.

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the situation regarding visas between Moscow and Washington remains “very bad.” She added that it was unacceptable that Russians have to wait for 300 days to receive permission to enter the US, and urged Washington to work together to normalize visa relations.

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