US Closes Russian Consulate in San Francisco

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But Washington is getting its revenge, with the State Department giving Moscow until Saturday to close the consulate in San Francisco and the trade missions in NY and Washington.

President Donald Trump's administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand earlier this month that the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.

"The American special services intend to conduct searches on Sept 2 in the general consulate in San Francisco, including in the houses of employees who live in the building and who have immunity", the spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said.

"With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each", the State Department said in a statement Thursday.

Russia's new Ambassador to the United States Anatoly I. Antonov was greeted by the news of the USA ordering closing down of Russian Consulate in San Francisco.

Smoke was seen pouring from the chimney of the Russian consulate in San Francisco on Friday. An annex in Washington, D.C. Another annex in New York City.

Nauert expressed hope that the move would allow both sides to avoid any further retaliatory action in order to "move forward to achieve the state goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern".

The Trump administration order is the latest example of deteriorating relations between the US and Russian Federation.

Relations between Washington and Moscow have become more tense since the Russian decision to reduce the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia. President Trump reluctantly signed the sanctions into law.

Consul General Sergey Petrov said earlier in the day that the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco had stopped functioning. The US State Department said, when asked about the searches, that the agency meant to "secure and maintain the properties in keeping with our responsibilities".

Sr State official confirms U.S. officials entered vacated Russian properties in DC, NY and SF, denies claim USA threatened to break down door.

The closures on both USA coasts marked perhaps the most drastic diplomatic measure by the United States against Russian Federation since 1986, near the end of the Cold War, when the nuclear-armed powers expelled dozens of each other's diplomats.

"But I want to say that this whole story with (the two countries) exchanging tit-for-tat sanctions was not started by us".

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