U.S. retaliates against Russian Federation by giving diplomats the boot from major cities

Embassyrussia

"Our hope with this move in direction of parity, is that we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides. the goal to find a way to get to better relations", said the United States official.

In a reaction to Russia's expulsion of American diplomats, Trump's administration has ordered Moscow to close its consulate in San Francisco and also scale back its presence in Washington and New York City. The consular annexes to be closed in NY and Washington contain Russian trade missions, the official said.

The Russian government has called out the United States for committing what it calls a "blatantly hostile act" by closing three Russian diplomatic posts.

The State Department fired the latest shot in an ongoing diplomatic spat with Russia, demanding the almost immediate closure of three Russian diplomatic facilities in San Francisco, Washington, and NY. Last December, the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two diplomatic compounds in the USA, a move described as retaliation for Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Washington said the decision on the closure was made as a response to Russia's move to reduce the USA diplomatic staff in Russian Federation to 455 people, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russian Federation has in the United States. With the latest closure orders from Washginton, "both countries will remain with three consulates each", she said.

The Trump administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand in August that the USA cut its diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.

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According to Nauert, the USA has fully implemented that order by removing 755 people from US diplomatic posts in Russian Federation.

The State Department announced Thursday that the consulate, along with a facility in New York City and one in Washington, D.C., must be shuttered by September 2.

Russian diplomats were working to vacate the properties over the weekend, including the six-story consulate.

Moscow forced the cut in retaliation over USA sanctions.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed "regret at the escalation of tensions" after the U.S. move. "The steps taken today by President Trump and his administration are wholly appropriate". The two are expected to meet at the UN General Assembly in NY next month.

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