USA gives Russian Federation 48 hours to close missions

Posted September 04, 2017

With the Russian diplomatic closures in the USA, the State Department said both countries will be left with three consulates each.

The order affects the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and diplomatic annex buildings in both New York City and Washington, D.C. The State Department wants them closed by September 2.

The closure of the consulate and two buildings housing Russian trade missions in Washington and NY have further plunged relations between the two countries to a new post-Cold War low.

"The Russian government has a long history of harassing American diplomats, and for the last eight years, President Putin has been emboldened by, among other things, the lack of consequences for these actions", Corker said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will prepare a "tough response" to the United States' decision to shut its consulate in San Francisco. The agency is careful to note that while both now have three consulates each, Russian Federation will continue to have more diplomatic and consular annexes in the USA than Americans have in Russian Federation.

"The Department of State can confirm that the Russian government complied with the order to vacate its Consulate and two annexes", a senior State Department official said.

She also called Russia's prior order to reduce US diplomatic staff "unwarranted and detrimental" - starkly different language from President Donald Trump, who earlier this month thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the move, saying it would help the U.S.

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

As workers scramble to close the building in time, acrid black smoke began billowing out of its chimney, according to local news reports.

Shortly before he left office, President Obama kicked Russians out of compounds in NY and Maryland in retaliation for what the USA intelligence community concluded was interference in the US presidential election.

US President Donald Trump took office in January, saying he wanted to improve ties.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin responded by expelling 755 US diplomats from Russia, a move that was met with deafening silence at first.

Tillerson and Lavrov are due to meet in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.