Trump Personally Decided to Close Russian Embassy in San Francisco

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"We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement about Russia's move.

Earlier this week, Trump said he hoped the United States could have good relations with Russian Federation, which would be "good for world peace".

Washington, Sep. 3 (PTI): The US seized control of Russia's Consulate in San Francisco and its two annexes in NY and Washington DC today after confirming that Moscow had complied with the Trump administration's order to vacate them within two days, officials said.

"We want to halt the downward spiral and we want to move toward better relations", she said. "And as far as I'm concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go a lot of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll".

On Saturday, the foreign ministry had tweeted a series of images showing what appeared to be USA officials conducting searches of the compounds.

"In response the minister expressed regret at the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations", it said. They may be reassigned to other diplomatic or consular posts in the US.

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The department said this was payback for Russia's "unwarranted and detrimental" decision to slash 755 of its USA diplomatic jobs.

But Moscow is calling the search an "unprecedented aggressive action", and Russia's foreign ministry says it has lodged a formal protest with the US deputy chief of mission in Moscow. Still, she said the US hoped both countries could now move toward "improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern".

"The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted", the department added.

Those sanctions were imposed as punishment for what U.S. intelligence agencies concluded was Moscow's interference in the 2016 United States presidential election, as well as Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

At the time, the US also said it would start doing visa interviews only at the Embassy in Moscow and no longer at the consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.