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Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses US of 'Direct Threat to Security' of Diplomats

© AFP 2023 / Josh EdelsonPeople walk past the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016
People walk past the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016 - Sputnik International
"The demands of the US authorities create a direct threat to the security of Russian citizens," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday. US special services plan to search the Russian consulate in San Francisco and even scour the residences of consulate workers on Sepetember 2.

"Alongside yet another raid on expensive objects of Russian state property, which [the US] has blocked and are now persistently offering to put up on sale, this time the demands of the US authorities pose a direct threat to security of Russian citizens," she said.

FBI agents are to conduct the search, Zakharova said, commenting that such searches directly compromise the Russian staff's diplomatic immunity.

Moscow adamantly opposes the US State Department's decision to close down three Russian diplomatic compounds in the US, she added. The decision was announced Thursday.

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Russian personnel were given just 12 hours notice that their homes would be searched, even though in many cases these individuals live with their families and young children. 

The US decision to shutter the properties "even exceeds" former President Barack Obama's expulsion of Russian diplomatic officials and seize Russian properties in New York and Maryland in 2016, the spokeswoman said.

"We express strong protest in relation to the actions of Washington, which ignore international law," Zakhrova stated. "In accordance with diplomatic practices, we reserve the right to respond. That is not our choice. It was imposed on us."  

​A US State Department spokesperson told Sputnik Friday that as of September 2, "the facilities will be closed, and entry or access to the properties will be granted only with permission of the Department of State."

"The State Department will secure and maintain the properties in keeping with our responsibilities," the spokesperson said, clarifying that Moscow will not be allowed to use the building for any diplomatic, consular or residential purposes. 

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