The State Department calls this an optimization of the work of the US mission in Russia.
The US State Department told Congress in mid-December 2020 that it would permanently close the consulate in Vladivostok and temporarily suspend the work of the consulate in Yekaterinburg, the Associated Press reports, citing a copy of the notice. The exact closing date has not been specified.
The closure of consulates is a response to “the staffing problems of the US missions in Russia in connection with the staff restrictions imposed by Russia in 2017 and, as a result, the deadlock with diplomatic visas,” reports AP.
A State Department spokesman confirmed to TASS the closure of consulates. “The Secretary of State, in close consultation with [US Ambassador to Russia] John Sullivan, has decided to close the US Consulate General in Vladivostok and suspend the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the US diplomatic mission in Russia,” he said. The decision was made to optimize the work of the US mission in Russia, he added.
Employees of the consulates general from among the American diplomats (10 people) will be transferred to work at the American embassy in Moscow, and the remaining 33 employees of the consulates general will be fired, specifies AP.
The US Consulate General in St. Petersburg closed in 2018.