The US ordered that Russian diplomatic offices in San Francisco, New York, and Washington be closed within two days, the Guardian reported. According to US officials, Russian staff can continue work in Russia, but the office buildings in America have to be sold or vacated. The consulate general and official residence in San Francisco was ordered to be closed on Saturday, as well as trade mission offices in New York and Washington.

The US position

The secretary of state Rex Tillerson claimed that on Thursday he had a phone call with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. He said that Lavrov “agreed to the sentiment that it was important to find a way to improve our relations.” Lavrov claimed that Russian authorities will study the order and response according to it, BBC reported.

The US officials stated, in the middle of September that Lavrov and Tillerson scheduled the meeting to discuss the possible solutions for the improvement of the tense situation between their countries.

The Russian consulate in San Francisco is one of the oldest established consulates in the US, as administration officials stated. It consists an office building and a residence. Russian trade missions were established in the annexes, New York Times reported. There is no information whether the Russian government would be able to return those facilities.

The state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the US made a revenge order after the “unwarranted and detrimental” action from Russia. She also added that the US completely followed the Russian order to cut the US diplomacy staff in Russia by 755 members on July 31, same as the Russian mission in the US.

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How did it start?

The relations between the two powerful countries became worse in the end of Obama-era. Former President Barack Obama made Russian diplomats leave diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York. Although Russian President Putin waited for a long time, thinking that the Trump administration would change the situation, President Trump only lifted sanctions. Putin ordered to cut the US embassy staff as the response in the end of July.

In August, Donald Trump stated that the situation with Russia is dangerously low, and claimed that he wished for warmer ties with Russia. The State Department explained, with the latest reductions, there will be only three foreign consulates in both countries accordingly. There were four consulates in the US and the Soviet Union each during the Soviet era.