By Michael Collins, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Corker applauded the Trump administration’s decision Thursday to order Russia to close three diplomatic facilities in the United States.
“The Russian government has a long history of harassing American diplomats, and for the last eight years, President (Vladimir) Putin has been emboldened by, among other things, the lack of consequences for these actions,” said Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The steps taken by President Donald Trump and his administration “are wholly appropriate, and I am pleased the administration has signaled that it is prepared to take further action if necessary,” Corker said.
The State Department said Thursday that the administration, retaliating against Russia’s expulsion of U.S. diplomats, was ordering the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco, a chancery annex in the Washington, D.C., embassy, and a consular annex in New York City.
The closures must happen by Saturday, the State Department said.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the move brings the U.S. and Russia into “parity,” with each having three consulates in each other’s country.
Putin ordered in July that 755 American diplomatic personnel leave Russia by this Friday. His move came days after Congress passed legislation strengthening financial sanctions on Moscow over its alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
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