Published: Fri, September 01, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

United States orders Russian Federation to close 3 diplomatic buildings

United States orders Russian Federation to close 3 diplomatic buildings

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.

The closing of the Russian diplomatic posts is an act of "impudence" which Moscow should retaliate for, said Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, according to state news service RIA Novosti.

The United States on Thursday ordered the closure of a Russian consulate by Saturday, describing it as a response to "unwarranted" Moscow action.

This decision by the U.S.is not irreversible, however.

His predecessor, Sergei Kislyak, made headlines after it emerged that he met with several Trump associates prior to the president's inauguration in January. The Russian Consulate General in San Francisco will officially close its doors for visitors on September 1, and will continue issuing ready passports until Friday afternoon, the consulate said on its website on Thursday.

Nauert's statement said the United States fully implemented the Russian request.

The official briefed reporters on a telephone conference call on condition of anonymity.

"We are not expelling any Russians at this time", the official said. The Russians will still own the property, and they can choose to keep them or sell them.

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The sanctions were imposed in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and to punish Russia further for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Putin's move was a delayed reaction to President Barack Obama's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and his seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds a year ago.

The move represents not-so-warm a welcome for Anatoly Antonov, Russia's new ambassador to the United States, who just arrived in Washington after being officially appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 21. Trump criticised the decision from the lawmakers, but signed the bill into law.

Visa operations at USA consulates will remain suspended indefinitely.

In July, Putin had asked Washington to cut the strength of its diplomatic staff in Russian Federation to 455 people.

The U.S. first responded to the staffing cut by temporarily ending nonimmigrant visa operations in Moscow. Nevertheless, the United States argued that the score has been evened.

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.

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