The United States will close its consulates in Russia

When the last two consulates are closed, the Moscow embassy will become the sole diplomatic representation of the United States in Russia. On Saturday, December 19, the US State Department confirmed the Trump administration’s decision to close the US consulate in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East, and to suspend the activities of the Yekaterinburg one.

This is’“Optimize the work of the American mission in Russia”, according to a spokesperson interviewed by Agence France-Presse. On the other hand, he said, “No action is planned concerning Russian consulates in the United States”.

According to the US media CNN, which quotes a letter sent by the State Department to Congress, this decision has been made “In response to the ongoing personnel problems of the US mission in Russia, following the ceiling imposed by Russia in 2017 […] and the resulting stalemate with Russia over diplomatic visas ”. Ten US diplomats assigned to consulates will be transferred to the US embassy in Moscow, while 33 local employees will lose their jobs, according to the channel.

Intense tensions between the two nations

These closures would leave the United States with a single diplomatic outpost in Russia, at a time when tensions between the two nations are intensifying, and when the president-elect, Joe Biden, is preparing to take the head of the American government. The United States accused Russia, Friday, December 18, of being behind the gigantic cyberattack which struck them. For its part, the Russian Embassy in Washington said that “Russia does [menait] no offensive operations in cyberspace ”.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Panic and uncertainty in the United States after a severe computer spy operation

The operation could, according to security experts, give hackers access to crucial computer systems and power grids. Joe Biden’s transition team executive director Yohannes Abraham said the attack was a source of “Great concern” and that the Biden administration would respond to such intrusions by inflicting “Considerable costs” to those responsible.

Russia closed the United States consulate in St. Petersburg in March 2018, after identical measures taken by Washington in relation to the Sergei Skripal affair, named after this former Russian spy poisoned in March 2018 in the United Kingdom.

The World with AFP


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here