The U.S. demanded that Russia until September 2, to close the Consulate General in San Francisco, and two representative offices in Washington and new York.
State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said that the United States adopt these measures “in the spirit of parity”: in Russia there are three American Consulate, while in the United States — four Russian.
As a result, both sides remain at three consulates, but, according to Nauert, “imbalance” with a number of diplomatic and consular buildings will remain. According to the representative of the state Department, the United States nevertheless ” decided to allow the Russian government to retain some of its buildings to prevent a vicious circle in our relationship.”
Heather Nauert also said that Washington wanted to avoid retaliatory measures from Moscow and “to move to achieve the stated goals of both of our presidents — to improve relations between our countries”. “The US is prepared to take additional action as needed” , she added.
In the administration of U.S. President said that the expulsion of diplomats of the question: Russia has the right to redeploy staff who work on close objects.
The administration representative added that taking the decision to close one of the Russian consulates, the US opted for “the oldest and most famous”.
The foreign Ministry is preparing a response
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has discussed the closure of the Consulate with his American colleague Rex Tillerson. The Secretary of state has called specifically in order to inform about the new restrictions. The Russian Minister expressed regret at the escalation of tension in relations between the two countries, which began not in Moscow. He also informed that Washington announced measures will be carefully studied will be informed about the reaction.
Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov said that Moscow will act “professionally and calmly”. “Speaking Leninist, we do not need hysterical outbursts,” said the diplomat, who arrived in the U.S. about an hour after Washington announced new restrictions.
From the decision of the Ministry will depend on how the procedure will be the closure of the Consulate General in San Francisco, said the head of the diplomatic mission Sergey Petrov. He noted that Washington’s decision will hurt the interests of both Russians and Americans, which appealed to the Consulate General.
In Consulate General of Russia in new York has not yet received official notification from us authorities about the closure of diplomatic facilities.
An appropriate response
The head of the international Committee of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev called for the “absolute symmetry” in ” the exchange of diplomatic courtesies,” with the United States.
The Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Andrei Klimov said that the closure of the Russian Consulate “rudeness”. He urged “to formulate and implement retaliatory steps” , while, according to him, the answer does not have to be mirrored.
According to first Deputy head of the international Committee of the Federation Council Vladimir Jabbarov, in response to the decision of the us authorities Russia may take retaliatory measures and to reduce the number of employees or facilities of the diplomatic mission of America in Russia.
The Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Slutsky called the US actions “archimedprodim”. “This means that the United States announced the hot phase of the diplomatic war,” he said.
The MP said that Moscow said forced to respond to such incidents, but the question of whether “to continue to succumb to American provocation” , remains open. Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei chepa expressed his conviction that Russia’s response will be adequate.
Vice-speaker of the state Duma from LDPR Igor Lebedev said that “the flywheel of mutual sanctions” will not benefit any of the parties. “If you want to continue the relationship between Russia and the United States, we need to stop this and sit down at the negotiating table,” he said.
At the end of 2016, the Obama administration introduced sanctions against Russia for allegedly “meddling in the election” and ” pressure on American diplomats.” Also, the United States has closed two residential complex, which is the Russian diplomatic property, and declared persona non grata 35 diplomats. However, no evidence in support of its action, the American side has not led.
In July, in response to the closure of its diplomatic facilities and the expulsion of diplomats, Moscow has proposed to reduce the number of diplomatic missions in Russia to 455 people — many employees are working in Russian offices in the United States.
At the beginning of August of mass media wrote that the United States may be a response to demand from Moscow to close one of the consulates. The representative of the foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, commenting on these reports, said noted that Russia many years ago, the United States offered to open its territory for the fourth Consulate General to provide parity. But Washington, according to her, has not seen fit to do it.
“Now if you will tell what for many years was broken parity, and now is the time to raze it to stop the hostile actions of Russia — it’s a total bluff, it is designed for those who do not know the essence of the issue,” she said.