Russia lashes out at US over ‘blunt act of hostility’

World Today

Russia has lashed out at the US after it ordered Moscow to vacate diplomatic properties in Washington and San Francisco.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the US decision is a “blunt act of hostility.”

“We consider what has happened as an openly hostile act and a gross violation of international law by Washington,” it said.

“We urge American authorities to change their minds and return Russian diplomatic facilities immediately,” it added.

Russia on Saturday was forced to vacate three properties in the US, including the six-story consulate in San Francisco.

US federal agents inspected a Russian trade mission in Washington to confirm its closure.

Members of the US State Department Police are seen inside the compound of the Trade Representation building of the Russian Federation on September 2, 2017 in Washington DC. /AFP Photo

The foreign ministry said that the “US intelligence services with the support of armed police were now in charge of the seized buildings.”

Washington issued the closure order Thursday in retaliation for Moscow ordering the US to slash its diplomatic mission by 755 personnel by September 1.

The number of US diplomatic staff will now be capped at 455, the same number that Russia has in the US.

The recent surge in tensions between Russia and US was a diplomatic setback for US President Donald Trump, said AFP.

During Trump’s campaign for office last year and in the early days of his presidency, he promised to try to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, analysts pointed out ties had now slumped to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Source(s): AFP, Reuters