Russia Summons American Diplomat as its US Outposts are Ordered to Close
Albanian Daily News
Published September 2, 2017
Russia handed a senior US diplomat in Moscow a strongly worded note of protest Saturday, the same day US officials had vowed to shutter three Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States amid escalating tensions.
The US deputy chief of mission in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and handed a note of protest "in connection with the intention of the US authorities to search the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Washington," the ministry said in an online statement.
"The note stressed that we are considering a planned illegitimate search of diplomatic premises in Russia without the presence of Russian officials and a threat to crack the front door as an unprecedented, aggressive action that can also be used by the US special services to organize an anti-Russian provocation using planted compromising objects," the statement said.
"The US authorities must stop the gross violations of international law and breaching the immunity of Russia's diplomatic institutions. Otherwise, we reserve the right to reciprocate on mutual basis," it said.
CNN has reached out to US officials for comment about the latest Russian claims.
The US State Department announced Thursday that it would close the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, as well as annexes in Washington and New York, in response to forced staff cuts at the US mission in Russia.
A senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin called Washington's decision a "raider take-over" designed to escalate tensions with Russia.
"These new steps push the bilateral relations further into a deadlock," Yuri Ushakov told Russian state media outlet Russia Today late Friday.
"Moreover, they contradict the statements made by the US President's administration, including at the highest level, on the establishment of cooperation," he said. "There were words, but there's still no readiness for cooperation. ... Unfortunately, the spiral of unfriendly moves tightens."
The plan to abruptly close the three diplomatic facilities marks the latest in a series of tense diplomatic exchanges between the two nations, following US allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.