United States retaliates against Russian Federation by giving diplomats the boot from major cities

Posted September 04, 2017

Russia's consulates in New York, Seattle and Houston will remain open.

The United States ordered Moscow to close a consulate in San Francisco in retaliation for the Kremlin's decision to force Washington to downsize its presence in Russian Federation. These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he regretted how a phone call with his United States counterpart Rex Tillerson about Washington's decision went, according to his ministry.

In an email Saturday, a State Department official said the posts were inspected in walk-throughs with Russian officials, and not forcibly searched as implied in a statement by Russia's Foreign Ministry.

Russian Federation has had a diplomatic presence in San Francisco since 1852, according to the consulate's website.

"As you know, it takes two to tango, but it seems to me that our USA partners keep performing individual breakdance", the Russian Foreign Minister said.

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During meetings in the Philippines shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left open the possibility the USA, in turn, would retaliate for that move, and promised Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a formal response by September 1.

The move comes in response to the Kremlin's decision last July to order the US to reduce by 755 the number of diplomats and diplomatic personnel working at the US Embassy in Moscow and at its consulates in St. Petersburg and other cities.

The decision to close the facilities was made by President Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

Moscow had asked Washington to reduce its missions officials in Russia in retaliation for the seizure of property belonging to Russians and expulsion of dozens of Russian nationals by President Barack Obama.

His move came days after Congress passed legislation strengthening financial sanctions on Moscow over its alleged meddling in the USA 2016 presidential election and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted'.

Moreover, the spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington, Nikolay Lakhonin, told reporters that the trade mission staff in the U.S. capital were blocked from accessing the building as of 14:00 local time on Saturday.