US diplomats have until this Friday to leave Russia – a day before the US closures of the Russian consulate and two annexes must be completed.
But although the state department said the US actions were “in the spirit of parity” and in response to the “unwarranted and detrimental” reduction in the US mission in Russia, it also suggested it wanted an end to the current spat.
“While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship,” the state department said in its statement on Thursday.
“The United States hopes that having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern.”
Russia maintains five missions in the US, including in Washington, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Houston, according to the Russian embassy website.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday expressed “regret at the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations”.