Washington tells Russian Federation to close consulate, buildings in US

Jerome Frank
September 4, 2017

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

There was no immediate reaction from the Russian government.

As reported earlier by JOL, the U.S. directive to close one Russian consulate and two diplomatic annexes was ordered in response to Russia's expulsion of 755 United States diplomats from Moscow.

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.

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, a senior Trump administration official said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, of the U.S. decisions during a phone call earlier in the day.

"Accusations made by the Russian government, including that United States officials threatened to break down doors in the relevant properties or that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is clearing the premises, are untrue", the official added.

The State Department said the Russian government had complied with the order to close operations by Sunday, and said no diplomats were being expelled as result of the closures.

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Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed "regret at the escalation of tensions" after the U.S. move.

Russia's top diplomat insisted Friday that Moscow wasn't interested in quarreling amid an escalating series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions - accusing the US of "performing a solo breakdance".

No Russian diplomats working at the missions are being formally expelled by the US, and those employees can continue their work at other Russian facilities in the country.

A senior State Department official said USA officials and Russian embassy personnel were conducting walk-throughs of the properties on Saturday to ensure they were vacated and to "secure and protect the facilities". Those sanctions on Russia's mining and oil industry, which President Trump signed despite reservations, were in turn a reprisal for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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. Mr Tillerson and Mr Lavrov will likely meet in NY in September according to the State Department.

Speaking to MGIMO students, Lavrov said Russian Federation would "of course be tough in its response" to what he called "harmful actions dictated only by the desire to spoil our relations with the United States".

The U.S., however, stands ready to respond further, the statement said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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