US orders Russia to close consulate and two annexes in US

Russia has been ordered to close its San Francisco consulate and two other annexes in response to “unwarranted” Russian action, the US has said.

The US state department announced the closures after Moscow forced the reduction of US diplomatic staff in Russia last month.

The decision was made “in the spirit of parity”, the state department added.

The closures of the consulate and the annexes in Washington and New York must be completed by Saturday.

Although the state department said the US actions were in response to the “unwarranted and detrimental” reduction in the US mission in Russia, it also suggested it wanted an end to the current spat.

“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,” the state department said in its statement on Thursday.

“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 goal of both our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased co-operation on areas of mutual concern.”

Source: BBC