Following the Trump administration's closure of Russia's consulates in the US, in retaliation for Russia's expulsion and firing of 700 USA consular employees there, Moscow had a curious response to the matter: it pinned the blame on President Obama.
The State Department today said it's achieved "parity" with Russia's decision to scale back USA diplomatic operations in Moscow by making the Russian government close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington and a consular annex in New York City by September 2.
"Today's action, not kicking out Russian diplomats, but closing two trade mission annexes and the San Francisco consulate general, the oldest Russian consulate in the U.S. And a prominent Russian lawmaker tonight insisting 'the U.S.is declaring the hot phase of diplomatic war, '" Alexander added.
The action follows recent demands by President Vladimir Putin that the USA reduce its footprint in Russian Federation. But many denials from Trump and others - including claims that they had absolutely no contact with Russian officials - have turned out not to be true.
Having discussed Washington's sanctions policy with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the US law on sanctions against Russia "has become another link in the chain of unfriendly steps and risky for global stability, striking a powerful blow to the prospects for bilateral cooperation". Cohen said he did not take Sater's claims seriously, though he did reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman regarding the project and spoke to Trump about it on three occasions before the project was abandoned in January of previous year.
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President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a bilateral meeting. "President Trump at the time expressing gratitude", he claimed. Washington also closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland. Noting the current state of relations, Moscow has appointed a hawkish new ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, known as a hardliner and a tough negotiator with a deep suspicion of the United States. "This is our standpoint on the sanctions that Congress has been forcing on Donald Trump".
"The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted", State Department official Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Russia is promising to answer a Trump administration order to close three Russian diplomatic offices in the United States.
Earlier this month, the Kremlin retaliated for stepped-up US sanctions on Russian Federation by announcing the USA would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russian Federation by 755 people.
Now, more than half a year into Trump's term, the State Department says relations between the two countries are in a "downward spiral" - but adds that, in the interest of arresting that slide, it will not be pursuing true parity in diplomatic sites.