In an escalation of a diplomatic row with Moscow, the State Department has given Russia three days to vacate a consulate in San Francisco, a chancery in Washington D.C. and a consular annex in New York. The decision comes a month after the Russians ordered the U.S. to vacate two facilities used by hundreds of diplomatic personnel and reduce its presence to 455 staff in retaliation for a new round of congressionally-mandated U.S. sanctions reluctantly signed by President Donald Trump—as well as a December shuttering of New York and Maryland facilities used by Russian intelligence. The move suggests State will not return those facilities, as the White House has reportedly considered. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said “the spirit of party invoked by the Russians” prompted the closure and, while the U.S. is “prepared to take further action,” Washington wishes to “avoid further retaliatory” steps.
SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Spencer Ackerman