Russia may be forced to shut down consulate in the US

Russia may be forced to close one of four consulates in the US as part of an ongoing diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two countries, sources said.

The U.S. State Department will announce whether Russia will have to close one of the consulate generals in New York, Houston, San Francisco, or Seattle, by September 1, according to sources cited by the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Congress imposed sanctions on Russia – which Trump begrudgingly signed off on – because of the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. presidential elections last year.

The backlash was swift, and Russia seized two American diplomatic properties in Russia in late July.

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On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the US Embassy in Moscow would be required to cut 755 employees.

Instead of denouncing the decision, Trump said: “I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll…We’ll save a lot of money.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) at the State Department in Washington, DC, USA, 10 May 2017

(JIM LO SCALZO/EPA)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Philippines earlier this week and discussed the response to the U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

“We provided an explanation,” Lavrov said.

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Lavrov said he also cited President Vladimir Putin who, in an interview to Russian TV last week, explained Moscow’s need to retaliate to the U.S. sanctions over its role in the Ukrainian crisis and recently expanded to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

With News Wire Services

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