Trump administration orders three Russian diplomatic facilities in US closed – Washington Post
By Anne Gearan,
The Trump administration has ordered three Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. closed following the expulsion of American diplomats from Russia, the State Department said Thursday.
Last month, Russia demanded that the U.S. diplomatic presence there be reduced by hundreds of people. In retaliation, the State Department ordered the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City. These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States has fully complied with Russia’s demand to reduce staff at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and at a smaller facility in St. Petersburg.
“We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries,” Nauert said in a statement.
The tit-for-tat U.S. response announced Thursday is “in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians,” Nauert said.
Russia had said it was retaliating for new U.S. sanctions and the seizure of two Russian compounds in the United States. Russia said its response merely sought “parity” in the number of diplomats from each country working in the other.
The closures in the United States will leave consulates open in both countries, Nauert said, but Russia will continue to also have several additional facilities in the United States.
“We have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship,” she said.
“The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern,” Nauert said.
She added that “the United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted.”
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