News World US President Donald Trump tells Russia to close consulate

US President Donald Trump tells Russia to close consulate

Russia consulate
The latest in the tit for tat between the US and Russia has seen a request for the San Francisco Russian consulate to be closed. Photo: AAP
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The Trump administration has told Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington and New York.

The State Department made the announcement on Thursday in response to Moscow last month ordering cuts in the US diplomatic mission in Russia.

At the time, Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half – to 455 people – after the approval of new sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions were imposed following Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and to punish Russia further for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

“In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, DC, and a consular annex in New York City,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.

“These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.”

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

“Moscow will closely study the new measures announced by the Americans, after which our reaction will be conveyed,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

To handle Russia’s reduction in staff, the United States said it would need to scale back its visa services significantly, which is expected to hurt Russian business travellers, tourists and students.

There are three other Russian consulates separate from the embassy in Washington. They are in New York, Seattle and Houston.

– with AAP