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Russia Accuses U.S. of Breakdancing Alone Instead of Doing Tango

MOSCOW — Russia's top diplomat insisted Friday that Moscow wasn't interested in quarreling amid an escalating series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions, and he accused the U.S. of "performing a solo breakdance."

Washington ordered Russia on Thursday to shutter its San Francisco consulate and close offices in Washington and New York. Washington gave Moscow 48 hours to comply.

U.S. Orders Closure of Three Diplomatic Russian Offices 1:35

Addressing students at MGIMO University in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was seeking cooperation with its former Cold War foe.

"As you know, it takes two to tango," Lavrov said. "But it seems to me our U.S. counterparts are performing a solo breakdance again."

Image: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP - Getty Images

He added that Moscow "will have a tough response to the things that come totally out of the blue to hurt us and are driven solely by the desire to spoil our relations with the United States."

The Trump administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand in August that the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff in Russia.

The closures on both U.S. coasts marked perhaps the most drastic diplomatic measure by the United States against Russia since 1986, near the end of the Cold War, when the nuclear-armed powers expelled dozens of each other's diplomats.