The United States seized control on Saturday of three Russian diplomatic posts in the US after confirming the Russians had complied with the Trump administration’s order to get out within two days, officials said.
As the Kremlin cried foul, accusing Washington of bullying tactics, the US disputed Moscow’s claims that American officials had threatened to “break down the entrance door” to one of the facilities, and that the FBI was “clearing the premises.”
Not true, said a senior State Department official, adding that US officials had joined Russian Embassy personnel for walk-throughs of the three buildings.
“These inspections were carried out to secure and protect the facilities and to confirm the Russian government had vacated the premises,” the official said in a statement emailed Saturday to reporters by the State Department on condition the official not be named.
Russia has been incensed by the move to shutter its consulate in San Francisco and trade offices in Washington and New York, actions the US took in retaliation for Moscow’s decision last month to force the US to cut its diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455. Moscow has accused the US of violating international law by shuttering the facilities, a charge the US disputes.