MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The closure of Russian General Consulate in the US city of San Francisco will impede the work of the Russian diplomatic mission to the United States, Consul General Alexander Pisarev told Sputnik.
"For sure, the closure of a General Consulate, especially a big and old one like the one in San Francisco, will create difficulties in our work, since, as I have already said, fewer staff will deal with the same volume of work," Pisarev said.
The diplomat noted that the closure was not in the interest of Russian or US citizens, but the US authorities had made the decision regardless of their views.
"The US side has made the decision, wishing to demonstrate the level of discontent with our response to the expulsion of [Russian] diplomatsin late December and the seizure of our compounds near Washington, DC and New York City. They have made such a demonstration, and it appears that they do not care about the interests of ordinary citizens," Pisarev added.
Alexander Pisarev stressed that the Russian side was not going to create any obstacles for ordinary US citizens wishing to obtain Russian visas.In late July, Moscow ordered that the US diplomatic presence in Russia be reduced to 455 people. This is the same number of diplomatic personnel that Russia has had in the United States since then-US President Barack Obama's ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in December 2016.
In August, Washington, in response, demanded that the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the trade mission in Washington and the branch of the trade mission in New York suspend their operation from September 2. After Russian diplomats left the diplomatic compounds, US security agents raided the premises.
Since 2014, relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine, several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions, accusations of Russia meddling in the US presidential vote, as well as against the backdrop of a number of differences on several international problems, such as the civil war in Syria.