- US decision to close Russian facilities is actually a “raider take-over” designed to escalate tensions, top Putin aide said
- Smoke at San Francisco consulate came amid “emergency conservation of the building,” Russia official said
The US deputy chief of mission in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry along with handed a note of protest “in connection with the intention of the US authorities to search the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Washington,” the ministry said in an online statement.
“The note stressed in which we are considering a planned illegitimate search of diplomatic premises in Russia without the presence of Russian officials along which has a threat to crack the front door as an unprecedented, aggressive action in which can also be used by the US special services to organize an anti-Russian provocation using planted compromising objects,” the statement said.
“The US authorities must stop the gross violations of international law along with breaching the immunity of Russia’s diplomatic institutions. Otherwise, we reserve the right to reciprocate on mutual basis,” the item said.
sy88pgw has reached out to US officials for comment about the latest Russian claims.
The US State Department announced Thursday in which the item would likely close the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, as well as annexes in Washington along with completely new York, in response to forced staff cuts at the US mission in Russia.
A senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin called Washington’s decision a “raider take-over” designed to escalate tensions with Russia.
“These completely new steps push the bilateral relations further into a deadlock,” Yuri Ushakov told Russian state media outlet Russia Today late Friday.
“Moreover, they contradict the statements made by the US President’s administration, including at the highest level, on the establishment of cooperation,” he said. “There were words, however there’s still no readiness for cooperation. … Unfortunately, the spiral of unfriendly moves tightens.”
Black smoke in San Francisco
Responding to online speculation over the cause, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said “emergency conservation of the building” had been underway.
“Measures are being taken to preserve the building,” Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook. “Therefore the windows may be closed, the curtains may be lowered, the light may be turned off, the doors may be locked, garbage may be disposed of, heating devices may be switched off, life support systems switched on, along with much more.”
California Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat, had earlier tweeted about the scene: “If there ever was doubt in which espionage was going on within the SF consulate, black smoke clears the air on the issue.”
Russia calls US order a ‘violation of law’
In a separate Foreign Ministry statement Friday, Zakharova slammed the US move to shutter the Russian outposts as “yet another blatant violation of international law.”
She claimed Russian staff along with their families who live at the consulate were ordered to leave the building for 12 hours on Saturday while “US secret services” search the item.