State Department Shuts Down Three Russian Diplomatic Facilities


And in the announcement Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this was another step "in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians".

But the State Department warned: "The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted".

This decision by the not irreversible, however.

The administration said there was no decision on whether the Russian government would be allowed to take back those facilities.

The decision to close the San Francisco consulate was made for a variety of reasons, a senior administration official said, but it "made the most sense" because it's the oldest and most established consulate of the four.

The official briefed reporters on a telephone conference call on condition of anonymity.

A senior USA administration official said on condition of anonymity that the decision would not translate into the expulsion of Russian diplomats; those who work in the buildings to be closed can be transferred to other outposts in the US. The Russians will still own the property, and they can choose to keep them or sell them.

The law, overwhelmingly approved by a bipartisan majority in the two chambers of Congress, includes sanctions affecting the Russian oil and mining industries in response to Moscow's presumed interference in the 2016 presidential elections to harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who was ultimately defeated by Trump.

Putin's move was a delayed reaction to President Barack Obama's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and his seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds past year.

Washington's plans to block Russia's stake in any Citgo energy sales-and possibly any land the government-owned company has in the United States-is a sign of escalating tensions between the United States and Russian Federation amid US concern that Moscow is trying to broaden its influence in Latin America.

Visa operations at U.S. consulates will remain suspended indefinitely.

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

In the long run, such development of events is not impossible as long as the parties face reality and the facts, the analyst said.

Moscow forced the cut in American diplomatic staff earlier this year in retaliation for USA sanctions.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to request for comment.