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

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

"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.

People walk past the Consulate-General of Russian Federation in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016.

"Unfriendly steps by the United States run counter to the claims it made earlier about its desire to restore US-Russian relations", Sputnik quoted the diplomat as saying.

Zakharova also said that in accordance with an instruction given by President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Foreign Ministry was in the process of selecting a legal firm to start a court proceeding over the seizure of diplomatic properties.

Washington ordered Moscow to vacate the consulate and Russian trade annexes in Washington and NY at the beginning of September, steps meant to produce parity in the sizes of the Russian and USA diplomatic missions. "In addition to the blatant attack on the flags, the Americans do not hide the fact that they have also rummaged through the documents in the office of the Consulate General in San Francisco, even though consular archives shall be considered inviolable in accordance with the bilateral Consular Convention".

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According to Zakharova, the statement from the US State Department which said that no one deprived Russian Federation of the rights for those buildings was "outright hypocrisy". "They touched our national symbols with their hands", Russia's Trade Representative to the United States Alexander Stadnik said.

The U.S. State Department denied that the flags were stolen. Russia's Embassy in the United States earlier said it had lodged a protest to the USA demanding the flags be immediately placed back.

Commenting on the situation, a US Department of State official told that Russian flags were "respectfully" lowered by US officials at former Russian properties in Washington, DC and San Francisco, when the buildings were closed.

These facilities have been actually taken under control of the Diplomatic Security Service, a law enforcement and security arm of the US Department of State.

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