In emptying the consulate, the Russian diplomats have been burning unknown items in the fireplace, leading to black smoke seen pouring out of the chimney.
The U.S. State Department has ordered Russian Federation to shutter its consulate general in San Francisco as well as an annex building in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.
"With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each", Nauert said in a statement.
Nauert stressed that the U.S. The closures were part of a broader response, including the expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies, to what United States officials have called cyber interference by Moscow in the 2016 elections. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the new batch of sanctions made efforts to improve relations between two states very hard.
In his own statement, Lavrov "expressed regret" about the new retaliatory moves and was clear that he saw them as "escalation of tension". He said that Moscow would study the new measures carefully and inform Washington of its reaction. As a result, Trump signed a stepped-up sanctions bill earlier, a move that angered the Russians.
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A senior US administration official told reporters the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco is the oldest Russian consulate in the United States. Russian representatives are also denied access to the rented premises of the Trade Representation in NY. She added the USA hoped both countries could now move toward "improved relations" and "increased cooperation".
The Russian offices must close by Saturday.
"It was started precisely with the goal of undermining Russian-American relations and preventing Trump from making constructive proposals during his presidency", said Mr Lavrov, "to make it as hard as possible for him to implement his election promises to normalise relations with Russia".
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the time he was not going to "leave anything unanswered", Politico reported.