Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The The United States is halting work at two consulates in Russia, the State Department said, citing safety and security issues at facilities where operations on COVID-19 were stopped.

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, in consultation with Ambassador John Sullivan, decided to close the consulate in Vladivostok in the Far East and suspend the operation of the consulate in Yekaterinburg, a statement from a State Department representative told Reuters on Saturday said in.

“Part of the ongoing effort to ensure the safe and secure operation of the US diplomatic mission in the Russian Federation, does not affect the Russian Consulate in the United States,” the statement said.

Asked this week about Russian media reports that both consulates could be closed, the US embassy in Moscow said it suspended operations at the Vladivostok consulate and operations in Yekaterinburg back in March due to an epidemic. Had done it.

The US-Russia relationship has been strained by Ukraine’s conflicts in Syria, as well as allegations of Russian interference in American politics, which Moscow denies.

Hackers working for Russia are accused of widespread hacking of US government agencies and a private company. Pompeo said on Friday that it was clearly clear that Russia was involved in attacks that have sent computer network security teams around the world to limit the damage.

The Kremlin denies Russian involvement.

At its annual news conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he hoped that US President-Elect Joe Biden would help resolve some difficult issues in relations between Moscow and Washington.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Treitral-Farber; Editing by William Mallard)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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