Trump Admin Demands That Certain Russian Consulates, Annexes Be Closed

Kremlin confirms Trump's lawyer reached out about deal

The Trump administration on Thursday ordered Russian Federation to close its consulate in San Francisco and two diplomatic annexes, in NY and Washington, retaliating against Russia's order for the United States to reduce its embassy staff in Moscow by 755 people.

The decision was made "in the spirit of parity", the department said in a statement Thursday, indicating it was a direct response to the Kremlin's decision last month to force the expulsion of 755 US diplomats and staff.

Along with the San Francisco consulate, the installations ordered closed were a chancery annex in Washington, where Moscow has a giant embassy complex, and a consular annex in NY. "It means that the U.S.is declaring the hot phase of diplomatic war". Russia's new Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov begins his post Friday. It wasn't immediately clear whether the Kremlin would return the volley by retaliating for the USA retaliation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday expressed "regret at the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations".

The Russian offices must close by Saturday. The official briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity. The Kremlin also demanded that America shut down numerous properties around Russian Federation. I asked Rogin where the diplomats would go and he confirmed that they would go to "A$3 ny of facilities in the United States the Russians choose".

President Barack Obama had ordered those expulsions, along with the closure of two compounds, last December.

The move was the latest tit-for-tat action in worsening relations between Washington and Moscow, despite President Trump's expressions of friendliness toward President Vladimir Putin.

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Ahead of the order, Russian officials had warned that further USA steps could be met with retaliation.

Although Russia said 755 personnel would have to go to reach that number, Washington never confirmed how many diplomatic staff it had in Russia at the time.

"I can't really say that this is permanent", said the official, who added that if the Russians want to "address our concerns", the U.S.is willing to listen.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Trump signed that bill on August 2.

But after the US Congress approved new economic sanctions against Moscow over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, Putin ordered drastic cuts in US staff in retaliation. Nevertheless, the United States argued that the score has been evened.

United States diplomats have until this Friday to leave Russia - a day before the U.S. closures of the Russian consulate and two annexes must be completed.

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