Russia has accused the US authorities of threatening the security of country’s citizens and violating its diplomats’ immunity with a planned FBI search of the San Francisco consulate.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that the demands of the US authorities create a direct threat to the security of Russian citizens. American special services intend today to carry out a search of the consulate in San Francisco including of the apartments of employees who live in the building and have immunity.
The United States yesterday ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco as well as two annexes in Washington and New York, in a tit-for-tat response to Moscow’s forced reduction of US diplomatic staff in their country. The State Department said the decision was made in the spirit of parity, adding that the closures needed to be completed by tomorrow.
Zakharova said that the FBI had ordered diplomats to leave their accommodation for 10 to 12 hours with their families including young children and babies.
The United States has asked Russia to close down its consulate situated in San Francisco as well as its buildings in Washington and New York which house trade missions, the State Department said on Thursday.
The decision came in retaliation for Moscow cutting the U.S. diplomatic presence in Russia.
The statement was the newest in tit-for-tat measures between the two countries that have helped to drive relations to a new post-Cold War low, thwarting hopes on both sides that they might improve after United States President Donald Trump took office in January.