The Trump administration has decided to retaliate against Russia. After President Trump signed a Russia sanctions bill passed by Congress, the country expelled hundreds of U.S. diplomats. The administration announced on Thursday that is is requiring Russia to close consulates in major American cities, reports Fox News.
Last month, Moscow responded to U.S. sanctions by ordering the U.S. to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half to only 455 people, reported Reuters. According to Fox, that amounted to more 700 diplomats expelled from the country.
“We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries,” stated State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Thursday of the mandated cuts.
Despite calling the action unwarranted, Nauert said the United States has already fully complied with Russian requirements. The United State's call for Russia to reduce its presence in the United States is the natural progression of events.
“In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City,” Nauert continued. “These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.”
Once Russia closes the consulate in San Francisco and the two annexes, both the U.S. and Russia will have three consulates each. However, that doesn't mean they'll be even on personnel and annexes,
"While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.”
Nauert said the U.S. hopes “we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern.”
But, she warned, “The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted.”
Later on Thursday, Russia responded to the request. Reuters reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed "regret" about the United State's moving during a call with Rex Tillerson. However, Lavrov also seemed slightly threatening.
He said in a statement, “Moscow will closely study the new measures announced by the Americans, after which our reaction will be conveyed,”
Are you concerned about these latest developments? Let us know in the comments. In other world news: U.S. Sends North Korea Explosive Message — Literally.