Russia's Foreign Ministry complains as U.S. takes control of consulate

Lloyd Doyle
October 3, 2017

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday said USA authorities had unlawfully entered and searched the Russian consulate building in San Francisco.

The building and several other consular properties in the USA were vacated by Russian diplomatic staff in early September, on Washington's orders.

"Despite our warnings, the USA authorities did not listen to reason and did not give up their illegal intentions", it said.

The statement added that Moscow voices a protest against "another hostile action by the USA", saying it reserves the right to respond to the U.S. steps on the basis of reciprocity. "This time the front doors were broken down again and a sweeping search was conducted inside", the statement says.

Footage aired repeatedly on Russian state television showed what the broadcaster said were U.S. officials breaking locks that had sealed off parts of the compound and entering the buildings. "Reciprocity has always been a fundamental principle in diplomacy".

The ministry called the USA actions in relation to Russian diplomatic facilities an "unprecedented abuse of power" in bilateral relations, saying that Moscow had "never given United States authorities the right to lift immunity from the Russian diplomatic and consular property and did not allow any intrusion into its facilities".

"Therefore, we understand that Americans, breaking into our diplomatic buildings, have de facto agreed that their missions in Russian Federation may be treated likewise".

After Russian diplomats left the diplomatic compounds, U.S. security agents entered the premises to perform searches. But the allegations of interference in the vote, which Moscow has denied, have persisted as an investigation by USA authorities has widened.

The closures were in retaliation for Russia's decision in July to reduce the number of USA diplomatic staff by 755 and seize two US properties in Moscow.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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