United States forces Russian Federation to close San Francisco consulate, shrink 2 others

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The US State Department, meanwhile, will control all access to the Russian properties, along with the responsibility for securing and maintaining them, authorities said. Activities at consular annexes in Washington D.C. and NY would also have to be scaled down, the announcement said.

Relations between Washington and Moscow have become more tense since the Russian decision to reduce the United States diplomatic presence in Russia.

"In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians", the State Department's spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said in a statement, Russia will have to close the three offices by September 2.

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

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a phone call that the U.S. had complied with Putin's directive and informed him of the order to close Russian diplomatic facilities.

The move comes a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered 755 American diplomatic staff to leave Russia.

The U.S. and Russian Federation will now each have three consulates for the other nation.

US President Donald Trump warned that Washington's ties with Moscow are at a "very risky low", and blamed Congress for the situation, after he reluctantly signed into law a sanctions bill against Russian Federation.

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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 USA of "performing a solo breakdance".

But Moscow is calling the search an "unprecedented aggressive action", and Russia's foreign ministry says it has lodged a formal protest with the us deputy chief of mission in Moscow.

Russian diplomats may be reassigned to other diplomatic or consular posts in the US, the State Department said.

US President Donald Trump took office in January, saying he wanted to improve ties.

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"These inspections were carried out to secure and protect the facilities and to confirm the Russian government had vacated the premises". The order affects offices in Washington and NY.

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