The State Department told lawmakers last week that it would permanently close the consulate in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok and temporarily suspend operations at the consulate in Yekaterinburg.
The notice was sent to Congress on December 10. It says the closures are due to caps placed by Russian authorities in 2017 on the number of U.S. diplomats allowed to work in the country.
The moves are “in response to ongoing staffing challenges of the U.S. Mission in Russia in the wake of the 2017 Russian-imposed personnel cap on the US Mission and resultant impasse with Russia over diplomatic visa.”
The consulates in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg employ a total of 10 American diplomats and 33 local staff.
The exact timing of the closures has yet to be determined. The American staff are to be relocated to the embassy in Moscow, while the locals will be laid off, according to the notice. The department estimated the permanent closure of the Vladivostok consulate would save $3.2 million per year.
After the closure, the only US diplomatic center in Russia will be the embassy in Moscow.
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