US shutters Russia’s San Francisco consulate in retaliation
The Trump administration said the move constituted its response to the Kremlin’s “unwarranted and detrimental” decision to force the US to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia.world Updated: Sep 01, 2017 14:47 IST
The United States on Thursday announced it was shutting down a Russian consulate in San Francisco and its chancery annexes in Washington DC and New York, in another tit-for-tat action for Russia’s reduction of American diplomatic staff by 755 personnel.
Russia has until September 2 to carry out these closures, at the end of which they will be left with three consulates-general in the US. The one in San Francisco was their oldest and most established. The chancery annexes being closed in DC and New York housed trade missions.
“With this action, both countries will remain with three consulates each,” the US state department 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 in our relationship.”
These actions were ordered in retaliation for Moscow instructing the US diplomatic mission in Russia in July to cut staff by around 755 people, most of whom were supposed to be locally hired employees.
The state department said the US had fully implemented that order, but refused to say if the cut was by 755 as required by Moscow. A senior administration official said US diplomatic staff number is down to 455 as required by Moscow.
Moscow had ordered the reduction in retaliation to the Obama administration throwing out 36 Russian diplomatic personnel in December for alleged interference in the 2016 elections, and the closure of recreational facilities lent out to them.