By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
(Listen to this report via BosNewsLife Radio)
MOSCOW/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- Moscow is considering its response to what some Russian politicians have called a "diplomatic war" with the United States. The developments came after the U.S. ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two trade missions in retaliation to what Washington called "unwarranted" Russian action.
The United States has given Russia just 48 hours to close its San Francisco consulate and offices in Washington and New York, intensifying the worst tensions since the Cold War.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also warned that the United States is prepared "to take further action as necessary and as warranted."
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump defended its decision saying that action was in retaliation for what it called Moscow's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand earlier this month that the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff by 755 people in Russia.
Moscow made that move after the US expanded sanctions against Russia over its alleged interference in the recent presidential election.
Earlier the U.S. also extended sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula while the alleged election interference led to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.
Russian-Americans despair after the Russian Consulate General closed in San Francisco. "We don't close anything to them, you know. And we live here peacefully; we don't do anything to be you know punished like that," a man said. "Especially, I have a lot of friends they are coming all over from Los Angelas or Idaho just to get here. And now they are closing, and we don't have that many opportunities. Now we have to go to New York or Washington DC?", he complained.
"The two greatest countries in the world, the United States and Russia, they have to be more friendly I think. The people are great, but politics [is not]," a woman added.
Moscow has declared it a major escalation, with a top Russian lawmaker saying the move heralded "the hot phase of the diplomatic war." The newly arrived Russian ambassador to the United States has invoked Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in saying Moscow will carefully consider its response to the closure of its consulate in San Francisco and scaled back operations in Washington and New York.
Anatoly Antonov flew into Washington on Thursday, hours after the State Department's announcement of the closure.Russian media quoted him as saying: "We have to act calmly and professionally. Speaking like Lenin, we don't need hysterical impulses."
(Budapest-based BosNewsLife covers the trials and triumphs of those suffering for their faith as well as former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. NEWS WATCH also deals with issues impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals).