Russia Protests Flag Removal at Seized San Francisco Consulate

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shake hands in the Treaty Room before heading into meetings at the State Department

In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russian Federation by around 60 percent, to 455, part of a diplomatic row.

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.

"The State Duma expresses its full solidarity with the stance of our Embassy in Washington and the Russian Foreign Ministry who lodged a strong protest with the American side", Slutsky stressed.

After Borisenko's statement, USA spokesman for Russian embassy Maria Olson "discoloration of relations does not serve interests of both sides".

"We demand the American authorities return our state symbols", the post said alongside pictures of a bare flagpole on top of the consulate building.

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Russian Federation has drastically scaled down the US diplomatic staff in Russian Federation to 455 people and seized a USA dacha and a warehouse in Moscow in retaliation to Washington's actions.

In September, US authorities ordered the closure of three Russian consular offices, including the consular office in San Francisco and launched major searches in the buildings once they were vacated.

Russia vehemently opposed the United States 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.

Russia told US authorities it strongly protests against the removal of Russian flags from its shut-down diplomatic properties, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The Russian Embassy in Washington has forwarded an official protest to the U.S. authorities with a demand to return Russian state symbols to their flag poles. According to State Department representatives, the flags were lowered with due respect to be kept safely in the building.