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 consulate, and annexes in New York and Washington, must close by Saturday.
The US state department’s move follows Moscow’s reduction of US diplomatic staff in Russia last month.
That in turn followed US sanctions over Crimea and alleged Russian interference in the US election, which led to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.
President Barack Obama had ordered those expulsions, along with the closure of two compounds, last December.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin did not respond initially to that move, with Donald Trump set to assume office, he then announced on 31 July a reduction of 755 US diplomatic staff, in retaliation for the US sanctions.
US diplomats have until this Friday to leave Russia – a day before the US closures of the Russian consulate and two annexes must be completed.
But although the state department said the US actions were “in the spirit of parity” and 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.”
Russia maintains five missions in the US, including in Washington, San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Houston, according to the Russian embassy website.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday expressed “regret at the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations”.
Original post: BBC News – Worldhappy wheels