The Trump administration has notified Congress that it intends to shut the last two remaining US consulates in Russia.
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, just east of the Ural Mountains.
The notice was sent to Congress on December 10 but received little attention at the time. That was three days before it was made public that Russian was suspected of a hack into US government and private computer systems that has raised grave cybersecurity fears.
It comes as Mr Trump has been urged to condemn Russia’s apparent involvement in the massive cyberattack, which is believed to have gone undetected for nine months.
Last night, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “The news of the significant and far-reaching cyber-attacks targeting United States government agencies and corporations is further disturbing evidence that malign actors, including Russia, remain intent on undermining our national security and democracy.
“Sadly and alarmingly, the Trump Administration has for four years turned a blind eye to Putin’s attacks on our American democracy, including his ongoing efforts to attack our election systems and undermine faith in our democratic institutions.
“The era of impunity for our adversaries’ assault on our democracy is over.”