Russia Protests Flag Removal at Seized San Francisco Consulate

13 October, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a news conference at the Russian Embassy in Washington. Reuters file

The Russian embassy in Washington, DC said that Russia strongly opposes the USA move to take down Russian flags from its ceased diplomatic properties in San Francisco, and sent a protest note. He also said that the Russian parliament already had experience with a "legislative response" to unfriendly actions of other nations, such as with the 2012 Dima Yakovlev law banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens or by proxy of USA organizations, and introducing asset freezes and entry bans targeting particular United States officials who had violated the rights of Russian citizens.

Also on Thursday, the Russian parliament's lower house, the Duma, cancelled a visit to the United States by a group of lawmakers planned for this month, a Duma spokeswoman told AFP.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shake hands in the Treaty Room before heading into meetings at the State Department May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.

U.S. State Department officials searched the Russian general consulate in San Francisco earlier this month after Russian diplomatic staff was forced to vacate the property on Washington's orders.

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Earlier on October 11, Russia's Foreign Ministry repeated a threat to demand further cuts in the number of USA diplomatic personnel in Russian Federation, also with the goal of achieving parity, after ordering a cut in US personnel to 455, effective last month. The demand followed a vote to tighten sanctions on Russian Federation.

The Russian Embassy to the United States said on its Russian-language Twitter account that flags were "stolen" from the building, and called it "the latest shameful event" in a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic reprisals between the countries this year. Moscow also demanded that the United States cut the numbers of its diplomatic and technical staff to 455 people - the number of Russian personnel at USA diplomatic missions and in the UN headquarters in the New York City.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Washington hoped that complying with the Russian requirements would mean both countries could stop trading retaliatory measures, RIA later reported.

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