Russia summons U.S. diplomat to protest search of Washington facility

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MOSCOW, (Xinhua) — Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Anthony Godfrey Saturday and protested U.S. intentions to search a Russian diplomatic property in Washington.

The Russian ministry said U.S. authorities sought to search the Russian trade representative compound, which was closed on Saturday, in addition to the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and a consular office in New York City.

“We consider the planned illegitimate search of the Russian diplomatic facility without the presence of Russian officials and a threat to break down its front door as an unprecedented, aggressive action,” said the ministry in a statement.

The ministry also expressed worries that U.S. intelligence agents during the search may plant items in the Russian compound and organize an anti-Russian provocation.

It urged the United States to stop the “gross violations” of international law and the encroachment on the immunity of Russia’s diplomatic institutions.

The U.S. security services also intend to search Russia’s Consulate General in San Francisco, which the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday will directly threaten the safety of Russian citizens and worsen already difficult bilateral relations.

The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered Russia to close the three facilities by Saturday in retaliation for the Russian decision in July to cut the number of U.S. diplomatic staff by 755 people and seize two U.S. properties in Moscow.

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