USA shuts down Russian consulate in San Francisco

01 September, 2017, 02:09 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Shelley Berman comedian-bard of everyday life has died

"In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington D.C., and a consular annex in NY", it said, setting a Sept.2 deadline.

The U.S. now operates consulates in the Russian cities of Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok, in addition to the embassy in Moscow. The Russians will still own the property, and they can choose to keep them or sell them.

The Russian offices must close by Saturday.

But the State Department warned: "The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted".

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This is just the latest development in a diplomatic spat between Russian Federation and the U.S.

Lavrov and Tillerson spoke by phone late Wednesday, several hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to dealing with North Korea.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin did not respond initially to that move, with Donald Trump set to assume office, he then announced on 31 July that 755 United States diplomatic staff must leave the country in retaliation for the United States sanctions.

That in turn followed United States sanctions over Crimea and alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, which led to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.

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Moscow took that step, with which Washington must comply starting on September 1, to equalize the number of diplomats the U.S. and Russia maintain in each other's countries after a USA reduction in Russian personnel late a year ago. Trump only reluctantly signed off on the Congress-backed sanctions, describing them as "significantly flawed" and partially unconstitutional.

The U.S. ambassador to Moscow and Nauert have both said that was the result of the staff cuts and not meant as a retaliation, but Russian officials have accused the U.S. of trying to punish their citizens.

It was a "professional" call in which both sides reiterated a desire to improve relations between the two countries.

But, in a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov "expressed regret at the escalation of tension in bilateral relations", and said the Russian government would study the move before deciding how to respond.

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In December 2016, the Obama administration expelled Kremlin diplomats from the United States and seized two of Moscow's diplomatic compounds in retaliation for Russian interference in the US presidential election.

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