U.S. orders closure of Russian consulate

Moscow had ordered the U.S. to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half to 455 people.

The order was in response to the Kremlin’s decision to shrink the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia.

The U.S. also required Russia to close its two annex buildings in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

In July, Moscow had ordered the U.S. to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half to 455 people after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia.

“We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.

“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 New York City.

“These closures will need to be accomplished by Sept. 2,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.

However, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed regret during a phone call with his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson about Washington’s move to close down Moscow’s San Francisco consulate and the other annexes.

“Moscow will closely study the new measures announced by the Americans, after which our reaction will be conveyed,” Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

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