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US seizes control of Russia's San Francisco consulate; annexes in NY, DC

Move to counter Moscow's decision to reduce the number of American diplomats in Russia

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Russian Consulate, US, US-Russia ties, diplomatic ties
(Photo courtesy: Twitter/@eugenegu)

The seized control of Russia's Consulate in and its two annexes in and DC on Sunday after confirming that Moscow had complied with the administration's order to vacate them within two days, officials said.

The administration had asked to close down its three diplomatic complexes, which was mainly in retaliation for Moscow's decision last month to reduce the number of American diplomatic personnel by several hundreds.

"The Department of State can confirm that the Russian government complied with the order to vacate its Consulate and two annexes," a senior State Department official said.

The official said will no longer be permitted to use these facilities for diplomatic or consular purposes and the state department will control all access to the three buildings, along with the responsibility for securing and maintaining them.

"Entry or access to the properties will be granted only with permission of the Department of State, which will secure and maintain the facilities in keeping with its responsibilities. No Russian are being expelled from the in connection with these closures," the official said.

According to the official, Russian Embassy personnel, together with the State Department officials, walked through three properties in San Francisco, and Washington, DC that the Russian government was required to close.

"These inspections were carried out to secure and protect the facilities and to confirm the Russian government had vacated the premises. The United States is fully adhering to the Vienna Convention, law, and bilateral agreements in these actions as well as in its demands for to draw down those diplomatic properties," the official said.

The had made separate arrangements to end existing residential uses that will allow families sufficient time to pack out and move.

"Accusations made by the Russian government, including that officials threatened to break down doors in the relevant properties or that the FBI is clearing the premises, are untrue," the official added.

Last month, forced the cut in diplomatic staff earlier this year in retaliation for American sanctions. The had to reduce its diplomatic staff by 755 people.

Moscow ordered the to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in by more than half to 455 people after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against

The sanctions were imposed in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and to punish further for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

First Published: Sun, September 03 2017. 18:23 IST
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