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US State Dept. Reportedly Notifies Congress of Intent to Close Last 2 Consulates in Russia

© Sputnik / Alexander Galperin / Go to the mediabankAmerican emblem seen on the building of the US consulate in St. Petersburg
American emblem seen on the building of the US consulate in St. Petersburg - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON, December 19 (Sputnik) - The Trump administration informed Congress that the United States will shut its two remaining consulates in Russia, The Associated Press reported, citing a department notification it obtained.

The State Department told lawmakers last week the US would permanently close the consulate in Vladivostok and temporarily suspend operations at the facility in Yekaterinburg, the report said Friday.

The reported decision reportedly comes "in response to ongoing staffing challenges of the US Mission in Russia in the wake of the 2017 Russian-imposed personnel cap on the US Mission and resultant impasse with Russia over diplomatic visas".

According to the AP, Congress was notified on 10 December "but received little attention at the time".

The exact timing of the closures is yet to be known, according to AP. If the two consulates are permanently closed, the embassy in Moscow,  will be the only diplomatic facility that the United States has in the Russian Federation. The American staff from Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok will be relocated in the Russian capital.

Earlier in 2018, Russia ordered the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg, responding to Washington's move to close the Russian consulate in Seattle.

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