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Russia Protests Over 'Stolen' Flags At Former US Consulate, Prompting US Denial

12 October 2017

She said Moscow regards the incident as an outrage against Russia's state symbol, adding that Moscow has already "expressed a strong protest to the United States".

"The Russian side will decide on retaliatory measures", Ms Zakharova said.

Russian flags were removed from the Russian consulate general in San Francisco by U.S. authorities, according to a State Department official.

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"Unfriendly steps by the United States run counter to the claims it made earlier about its desire to restore US-Russian relations", Sputnik quoted the diplomat as saying.

"A strong objection was sent to the American side in the wake of the removal of Russian flags from the diplomatic property in San Francisco, controlled by the United States authorities". "Of course, the Russian Federation has not given any consent for the flags to be removed", Zakharova said. Chairman of Russia's State Duma (lower house) International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, has described the removal of the Russian flags from the Consulate General in San Francisco and the trade mission in Washington as a provocation. In addition, US officials said that the US State Department ensures the safety of the Russian diplomatic property and keeps it in order accordingly.

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.

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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.

In late August, the United States ordered Russian Federation to close its consulate in San Francisco and two other installations as relations between the two former Cold War enemies took another dive. US State Department officials, in turn, said that employees of the department made the round of the Russian premises after all diplomats had left them.

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Russia Protests Over 'Stolen' Flags At Former US Consulate, Prompting US Denial