Russia Protests Over 'Stolen' Flags At Former US Consulate, Prompting US Denial

Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff

"If they haven't appreciated this, we have the full right to reduce. the number of USA diplomats", he said, saying Moscow could stop taking Russian U.N. staff into account when calculating what parity between the two countries meant.

The development came two days after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his American counterpart, Rex Tillerson, that the Russian diplomatic properties had been "illegally seized" by the U.S. government, demanding their return to Moscow's embassy in Washington.

She said Moscow regards the incident as an outrage against Russia's state symbol, adding that Moscow has already "expressed a strong protest to the United States".

In late August, the United States ordered Russian Federation to close its consulate in San Francisco and two other installations as relations between the two former Cold War enemies took another dive.

Russia vehemently opposed the U.S. move to take down its flags from its ceased diplomatic properties in San Francisco, Sputnik quoted the statement of the Russian embassy in Washington D.C.

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

"The Russian side will decide on retaliatory measures", Zakharova said. 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.

Moscow had previously accused the United States of searching its missions and diplomatic staff's accommodation.

"We demand an immediate end to the takeover of our property in the USA which is accompanied by offensive actions", Antonov added. The demand followed a vote to tighten sanctions on Russian Federation. On Wednesday this week they removed Russian flags from the roofs of the San Francisco consular office and the office of the Russian Trade Representative in Washington, DC.

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