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Russian Federation lodges protest with United States after flags torn down at diplomatic missions

12 October 2017, 03:49 | Joann Bryant

Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff

Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff

"Yesterday, a new, I can officially say, hostile action of the United States authorities against our diplomatic institutions became known".

In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russian Federation by around 60%, to 455, part of a diplomatic row, Reuters reported.

"A strong objection was sent to the American side in the wake of the removal of Russian flags from the diplomatic property in San Francisco, controlled by the U.S. authorities".

Zakharova compared the actions of the American authorities committed at closed diplomatic facilities with occupation.

"We consider this incident as a desecration of the Russian state symbols", the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing.




"As current geopolitical realities become tougher, when the United States start an unprecedented enlargement of anti-Russian sanctions and fixed this move in the form of a law it would be very logical from our side to introduce some counter-measures", he added.

"The flag at the former Russian Washington, DC property was also taken down and is safely stored within the building". The US set a deadline of October 1 for diplomats from the consulate general in San Francisco to pack their belongings.

Russian Federation was ordered to vacate its San Francisco consulate and two other consular annexes after Moscow instructed the U.S.to reduce its diplomatic mission by hundreds of people. During the recent months, Russian representatives have been denied access to five objects of the Russian diplomatic property in the United States. Russian Federation demanded the flags be returned in place immediately.

Earlier, Russia's envoy to Washington, Mr Anatoly Antonov, said he had sent a "decisive protest" to the USA over the removed flags. Entrance doors to the buildings were broken, while the buildings themselves were searched.

Nevertheless, the buildings in question still remain the property of Russian Federation, except for the office of the trade mission, which Russian Federation was renting.



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