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Russia Reacts to the Closure of Its San Francisco Consulate

The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and scale back activities in annexes in Washington D.C. and New York by Saturday, Sept. 2.

Here are the reactions from Moscow so far:

— Russia's Foreign Ministry

"The minister expressed regrets over the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations, which were not initiated by us," it said in a statement describing a phone conversation between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "Moscow will closely study the new measures announced by the U.S., after which we will announce our reaction."

— Anatoly Antonov, Russia's newly appointed Ambassador to Washington

"Now we need to sort this out calmly, very calmly and act in a professional manner," he told journalists, according to the state-run TASS news agency, right after landing on U.S. soil. "To cite Lenin, we don't need any hysterical outbursts." 

The newly appointed ambassador was referring to a well-known statement made by Lenin: "We don't need hysterical outbursts. We need the measured tread of the iron battalions of the proletariat." 

"My comrades and I will fulfill our work in a professional manner," Antonov added.

— Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee 

"This is a hugely unfair step," he told the Interfax news agency. "It means the U.S. is declaring a hot phase in the diplomatic war. The closing of institutions is a lot more serious than the ousting of diplomats or the illegal curbing of diplomatic powers."

"But here we need to decide, do we need symmetrical measures and will we give in to U.S. provocations in the future, which in effect move us towards the rupturing of diplomatic relations? I'm convinced we should not allow a slowing of diplomatic dialogue, especially in the context of the appointment of a new Russian Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov. We will decide and think."

— Alexei Chyepa, deputy head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee 

“We will respond to this in an appropriate way,” he told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. “We warned earlier that every action will elicit a response."

— Consul General in San Fransisco Sergei Petrov

"The consulate will act in accordance with the decision taken by the Russian leadership on the decision taken by the Americans," he told RIA Novosti. "Now the [Russian] Foreign Ministry will decide how the closure will take place, when people will leave and so forth. And according to that decision we will act."

*This story will be updated as new details emerge.

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