US orders Russia to close three diplomatic offices after Putin orders cuts to American staff

US orders Russia to close three diplomatic offices after Putin orders cuts to American staff, Washinton Examiner, Melissa Quinn, August 31, 2017

The State Department has ordered Russia to close three of its U.S. facilities by Saturday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 employees.

The Trump administration said the decision was made “in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians,” and gave the Kremlin until Sept. 2 to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and consular annex in New York City.

“With this action, both countries will remain with three consulates each,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral of our relationship.

“The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated down of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted.”

The State Department also said it has “fully implemented” Putin’s order for the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia, but voiced its opposition to the move.

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

Putin said last month the U.S. had to reduce its staff in Russia by 755 employees after President Trump signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia.

With the cuts, staff levels at U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia were brought to 455.

Explore posts in the same categories: Amerian diplomatic facilities in Russia, Department of State, Russian diplomatic facilities in US

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