Russian Federation pledges 'harsh response' to United States tit-for-tat measures

Rex Tillerson U.S. secretary of State speaks during a meeting with Chrystia Freeland Canada's minister of foreign affairs not

US/Russia Relations Worsen as Diplomatic Sites Are Shuttered

To cope with the reduction in staff in Russia, the United States said last week it would have to sharply scale back visa services, a move that will hit Russian business travelers, tourists and students.

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.

The United States ordered Moscow to close a consulate in San Francisco in retaliation for the Kremlin's decision to force Washington to downsize its presence in Russian Federation.

The first punishment, handed down by President Obama, forced Russia to move out of two diplomatic compounds in the USA and send home 35 Russian diplomats.

The decision was conveyed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who according to Russian foreign ministry "expressed regret over the decision".

The decision was in retaliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin kicking out more than 700 USA diplomats - after Trump, reluctantly, signed a sanctions law passed by Congress.

This move by Trump brings the USA and Russian Federation into parity with each, as now both Russian Federation and U.S. will have three consulates in each other's country.

The State Department has told Russian officials they have until Saturday to close the consulate.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday dismissed USA claim that the escalation was initiated by Russia, saying that Moscow will "carefully study" the new measures announced by the Americans before announcing their reaction.

"And he also informed him of our plans to close the facilities in question".

Shortly before he left office, President Obama kicked Russians out of compounds in NY and Maryland in retaliation for what the USA intelligence community concluded was interference in the US presidential election.

Russia's Foreign Ministry in August ordered the US embassy to reduce its diplomatic presence to 455 diplomats and staff by September 1, after the US Congress approved new sanctions against Russian Federation.

"I hope that we do have good relations with Russia", Trump said at a joint press conference with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. "We've taken these steps in that measure and in that spirit".

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