Russian Federation protests against removal of flags from diplomatic properties in US

Sergi Lavrov and Rex Tillerson

GETTYRussia says it will take the United States to court for seizing its diplomatic properties

In July, Moscow told the United States to slash the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russian Federation by around 60 percent, to 455, in a further sign of souring relations.

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 removal of the Russian flags from the Russian diplomatic facilities in the US is yet another destructive step in the diplomatic war that was unleashed by the administration of the previous US President, Barack Obama".

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Washington hoped that complying with the Russian requirements would mean both countries could stop trading retaliatory measures, RIA later reported.

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

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". In addition, US officials said that the US State Department ensures the safety of the Russian diplomatic property and keeps it in order accordingly. During the recent months, Russian representatives have been denied access to five objects of the Russian diplomatic property in the United States.

Washington ordered the shutdown of the Russian diplomatic missions in a retaliatory move after the Kremlin demanded the United States slash staff numbers at its missions in Russia.

A U.S. Department of State official told Sputnik that Russian flags were "respectfully" lowered by USA officials at former Russian properties in Washington, DC and San Francisco, when the buildings were closed.

Russian Federation considers such a move as an "extremely unfriendly step", and demands an immediate return of the flags, the embassy added.

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