The United States will close all consulates in Russia, only the embassy in Moscow will remain
The administration of US President Donald Trump has officially announced its plan to close the two remaining consulates in Russia. Writes about it CNN.
On December 10, the US State Department announced to Congress that it intends to close the consulate in Vladivostok and suspend the work of the consulate in Yekaterinburg.
As a result of their closure, the United States will have only one diplomatic post in Russia - the US Embassy in Moscow. The State Department has decided to close consulates amid escalating tensions between the two countries and as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to lead the United States.
Just after the announcement of the closure of diplomatic missions, news emerged of an ongoing large-scale cyberattack on numerous departments of the federal government, as well as on a number of Fortune 500 companies. Russia is believed to be involved in the attack.
The State Department said it "intends to take these steps in response to ongoing staffing problems for the US diplomatic mission in Russia due to the 2017 staff cap."
A spokesman for the State Department confirmed the planned steps, saying that "the secretary of state, in close consultation with Ambassador John Sullivan, has decided to close the US Consulate General in Vladivostok and suspend operations at the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg."
"The decision of the State Department on the US consulates in Russia was made in order to optimize the work of the US mission in Russia," said a spokesman for the State Department. "As a result, the reshuffle of personnel at the US Embassy in Moscow will enable us to advance our foreign policy interests in Russia in the most efficient and secure way."
The Congressional notice says 10 US diplomats working in consulates will be transferred to the embassy in Moscow and 33 local employees will be fired.
After the completion of the notification procedure to the Congress, the consulates "with the support of the embassy in Moscow plan to begin procedures for the withdrawal of all confidential materials from the consulates, including computer equipment and consular materials."
In March, the department temporarily suspended the work of the consulate in Vladivostok due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the Russian government closed U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg in 2018. Now, in connection with the planned closure of the remaining two consulates, all services for American citizens will be provided only in Moscow.
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The State Department told lawmakers that "the planned closure will not adversely affect the Mission's ability to advance core US national interests, assist US citizens, or exercise adequate program oversight, as these functions will continue to be performed by the US Embassy in Moscow."
It is unclear when the closings will be completed or whether they will be completed before Biden takes office in January. The president-elect said he and his team are preparing a “tide strategy” to respond to Russia’s subversive measures, including cyberattacks, if Moscow is found guilty. According to a source close to Biden, these measures will include, but not be limited to, sanctions.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- 14 December Media reported that the US intends to close two US Consulates General in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok (Russia). If in Vladivostok the consulate has practically not worked since the beginning of the quarantine, in Yekaterinburg it is one of the most active diplomatic missions of the territory of the post-Soviet space.
Read also on ForumDaily:
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