The State Department’s principal spokeswoman said Tuesday the administration is “confident in the legality” of its decision to shutter Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States, despite a Russian threat to sue over the closures.
“We will not speculate on any potential Russian actions,” State spokeswoman Heather Nauert told CNN in a statement, adding, “our actions brought us closer to Russia’s stated goal of parity, so there should be no need for any further actions from either side.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed his country’s foreign ministry to file a lawsuit contesting the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two other diplomatic annexes in Washington, DC, and New York.
Separately, Putin indicated he may force the United States to once again reduce the number of personnel working at its facilities in Russia, after forcing out hundreds of staffers earlier this month.
“We reserve the right to further reduce the number of U.S. diplomats in Moscow,” Putin said to reporters in China, where he was attending the BRICS summit on Tuesday. “But we are not going to do this at this time. We will see how the situation is developing.”
The two countries have been engaged in a diplomatic tit for tat over their missions since last year’s U.S. presidential election, in which the U.S. accused Russia of meddling.