The United States has ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington, DC and New York City by Saturday, the State Department has said.
The move on Thursday came as a response to Moscow’s demands that the size of the US mission in Russia be reduced.
Last month, Russia ordered the US to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, to 455 people, after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia.
— Department of State (@StateDept) August 31, 2017
“We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.
“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, DC, and a consular annex in New York City,” Nauert said.
“These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.”
In response, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Moscow “will closely study the new measures announced by the Americans, after which our reaction will be conveyed”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also held a phone conversation with his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, and expressed his regret about Washington’s move.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies