SF Russian consulate ordered closed

The US said the closures needed to be completed by Saturday

The former United States president expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and closed two compounds over Russian action in Crimea and alleged interference in the United States election.

"In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians", Nauert said, the United States has required the Russian government to close its San Francisco consulate and two annexes in Washington, D.C. and NY by September 2.

In ordering the closures, the U.S. State Department persisted with that line, arguing that it matched the number of consulates the two countries hold. The retaliation comes in the wake of Moscow forcing the cut in American diplomatic staff earlier this year in retaliation for USA sanctions. She described the new demand on Moscow to reduce its presence in the United States as being "in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians".

There is speculation now on whether Russian Federation would retaliate against the US measures, perhaps by closing one of the United States' three consulates in Russian Federation.

The expelled United States diplomats have until Friday to leave Russia - a day before the USA closures of the Russian consulate and two annexes, which are trade missions, must be completed.

She added, "The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted".

Lavrov defended Russia's decision to cut USA diplomatic staff as reciprocal reaction to the US expelling Russian diplomats last December.

Then-President Barack Obama in December announced the expulsion of four employees and their families at the Russian consulate at 2790 Green St.in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood.

In July, Russia ordered Washington reduce its diplomatic staff by 755 people.

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

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

The Trump administration took two major diplomatic steps against Russia Thursday-one that would close Moscow's consulate in San Francisco and annexes in D.C. and NY and another that aims to block Russia from gaining control of any part of the USA energy market owned by Russian ally Venezuela. Washington gave Moscow 48 hours to comply.

President Trump made the decision, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The closures mark the latest development in a protracted tit-for-tat between Washington and Moscow that began last December, when President Barack Obama leveled new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States as punishment for Russia's presidential election meddling.

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