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Russia Protests Over 'Stolen' Flags At Former US Consulate, Prompting US Denial
12 October 2017, 03:47 | Kelvin Horton
Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff
Tensions between Washington and Moscow rise as Russian flags were removed from the buildings of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the Trade Representation in Washington, DC.
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.
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.
"Such steps only complicate US-Russian dialogue", he said in televised remarks. The US set a deadline of October 1 for diplomats from the consulate general in San Francisco to pack their belongings.
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed Washington for removing its flags from Russian diplomatic properties in the United States, and said Washington deliberately destroys relations with Moscow.
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".
"We demand the American authorities return our state symbols", the post said alongside pictures of a bare flagpole on top of the consulate building. Russian Federation demanded the flags be returned in place immediately.
"The flags at the former Russian consular properties in San Francisco were respectfully lowered and are safely stored within each of the buildings", the official said on Wednesday.
Earlier on Thursday, the State Duma Council chose to postpone the parliamentary delegation's visit to the U.S. due to the present circumstances, the lower house of the Russian parliament said.
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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