06:13 GMT +324 September 2017
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    The Russian Consulate building, where smoke was seen coming from its roof, is seen in San Francisco, California September 1, 2017

    Russian Consulate in San Francisco Stops Functioning at Washington Demand

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    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (38)
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    Consul General Sergey Petrov reports that Russian Consulate General in San Francisco has stopped functioning, but the diplomatic employees and members of their families will live in the building until October 1.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Russian Consulate General in the US city of San Francisco has stopped functioning, but the diplomats, living in the building, can stay there until October 1, Consul General Sergey Petrov told Sputnik Sunday.

    "The consulate as a [diplomatic] institution was closed in connection with the US authorities’ unlawful decision. The employees of the Consulate General and the members of their families will continue to live in the building until their departure. It should be completed before October 1," Petrov said.

    Petrov noted that the consulate has been closed since 11:00 local time (18:00 GMT).

    Earlier in the day, a State Department official said would have "sufficient time" to pack their things and move out.

    On Thursday, the US State Department said in a press release that Washington had demanded that Moscow close down its Consulate General in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC by Saturday.

    Washington’s move came after Moscow announced in July that the diplomatic presence of the United States in Russia would be scaled down by 755 people to 455, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russia has in the United States since late 2016, when 35 Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States.

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    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (38)

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