Update: Russia's response was quick:
- LAVROV TELLS TILLERSON HE REGRETS ESCALATION OF TENSIONS
- LAVROV: RUSSIA TO STUDY U.S. MEASURES AGAINST CONSULATES: RIA
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Tit for tat.
Exactly one month after Vladimir Putin ordered the expulsion of 755 US diplomats from Russia, as well as the seizure of two diplomatic compounds used by the US in Russia on July 31, moments ago the US State Department announced that "in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians", the US has ordered the Russian government to close its San Francisco consulate, a chancery annex in Washington and a consular annex in New York City.
Russia was given two days, or until September 2, to complete the closures.
The State Department explains that "with this action both countries will remain with three consulates each."
And, in the spirit of "generosity", the US added that "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."
Full statement below:
Achieving Parity in Diplomatic Missions
The United States has fully implemented the decision by the Government of the Russian Federation to reduce the size of our mission in Russia. We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.
In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consul. General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City. These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.
With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each. 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.
The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation's desire for parity, 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. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted.
Whether in the "full spirit of parity" Russia will next dump a few thousand soliders in nations neighboring the US, we don't know, but we are confident that an escalating Russian response to this latest US move is inevitable and imminent.