US to shut two Russia consulates, State Division says
The USA plans to shutter its final two consulates in Russia, leaving the embassy in Moscow as its solely diplomatic outpost within the huge nation, the Trump Administration instructed members of Congress final week.
The closure of US workplaces in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg is a response to coronavirus restrictions, the State Division stated — to not new prices that Russia could also be liable for the SolarWinds hack that has the federal authorities reeling.
Discover of the pullback was despatched to Congress on Dec. 10, three days earlier than the huge pc incursion was publicly revealed.
The brand new motion “was taken to optimize the work of the US mission in Russia,” a State Division official instructed CNN Friday. Ten American diplomats who serve within the two consulates shall be reassigned to Moscow — and 33 native staff shall be laid off.
Diplomatic staffing in Russia has been an ongoing downside for the administration within the wake of a personnel cap that Vladimir Putin’s authorities imposed in 2017 in response to US sanctions within the wake of prices of Russian election meddling.
However the huge cyberattack on US pc techniques, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pinned on Moscow, might put the closures in a brand new mild.
“I feel it’s the case that now we will say fairly clearly that it was the Russians that engaged on this exercise,” Pompeo stated Friday.
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