World Russia threatens retaliation over U.S. 'break-in' at San Francisco consulate

14:17  03 october  2017
14:17  03 october  2017 Source:   Reuters

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U . S . officials broke into residences at Russia ’s consulate in San Francisco , the foreign ministry in Moscow said, threatening retaliation over what it called a hostile and illegal act.

U . S . officials broke into residences at Russia 's consulate in San Francisco , the foreign ministry in Moscow said, threatening retaliation over what it called a hostile and illegal act.

SAN FRANCISCO, USA - NOVEMBER 3: A sign is seen at the entrance of the Russian consulate building in San Francisco, United States on October 3, 2017. © Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images SAN FRANCISCO, USA - NOVEMBER 3: A sign is seen at the entrance of the Russian consulate building in San Francisco, United States on October 3, 2017.

MOSCOW, Oct 3 (Reuters) - U.S. officials broke into residences at Russia's consulate in San Francisco, the foreign ministry in Moscow said, threatening retaliation over what it called a hostile and illegal act.

Russian staff had left the consulate last month, after Washington ordered Moscow to vacate some of its diplomatic properties, part of a series of tit-for-tat actions during a thorny phase in bilateral relations.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – U . S . officials broke into residences at Russia ’s consulate in San Francisco , the foreign ministry in Moscow said, threatening retaliation over what it called a hostile and illegal act. Russian staff had left the consulate last month

Russia consulate in San Francisco shut down. Russian consulate San Francisco . U . S - Russia Relations. Trump threatened to terminate NAFTA. Canada and Mexico shrugged. FLYERS.

Since then, U.S. officials had occupied administrative parts of the compound but on Monday they entered residential areas that the departing staff had locked, the ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

"Despite our warnings, the U.S. authorities did not listen to reason and did not give up their illegal intentions," it said.

."..We reserve the right to respond. The principle of reciprocity has always been and remains the cornerstone of diplomacy."

Footage aired repeatedly on Russian state television showed what the broadcaster said were U.S. officials breaking locks that had sealed off parts of the compound and entering the buildings.

The "intruders" had taken over the whole premises including the consul general's residence, the ministry said.

U.S. denies breaking into Russian diplomatic apartments in San Francisco

  U.S. denies breaking into Russian diplomatic apartments in San Francisco The U.S. State Department denied Russian assertions on Tuesday that U.S. officials had broken into residences at the Russian consulate in San Francisco, saying security officers had merely checked to ensure the building had been vacated by a required deadline. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States had given Russian families living at the consulate an extended deadline of Oct. 1 to vacate the residences. The move was part of an ongoing spat between the two countries.

Under the order, Russia must close its San Francisco consulate by Saturday, along with Russia ’s “chancery annex” in Washington and a “ consular annex” in New York. Russia to Decide Next Week on Retaliation Against U . S . Over Compound Seizures.

U . S . Shuts Down Russia 's Consulate in San Francisco . It wasn't immediately clear whether the Kremlin would return the volley by retaliating for the U . S . retaliation . The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was studying the decision to determine its response.

"Therefore, we understand that Americans, breaking into our diplomatic buildings, have de facto agreed that their missions in Russia may be treated likewise."

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month accused Washington of "boorish" treatment of Russia’s diplomatic premises on U.S. soil, ordering the foreign ministry to take legal action over alleged violations of Russia’s property rights.

The tit-for-tat began late last year when former U.S. president Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for alleged Russian meddling in the election that took Donald Trump to the White House.

Trump took office in January, saying he wanted to improve ties with Russia, while Putin also spoke favorably of Trump.

But the allegations of interference in the vote, which Moscow has denied, have persisted as an investigation by U.S. authorities has widened.

In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russia by around 60 percent, to 455.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by John Stonestreet)

Russia may demand U.S. cut diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 or below: RIA .
Russia's Foreign Ministry does not rule out ordering the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 people or below, the RIA news agency cited Georgy Borisenko, the head of the ministry's North America Department, as saying on Wednesday. In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russia by around 60 percent, to 455, part of a diplomatic row.The figure of 455 was meant to mirror the total number of Russian diplomats working in the United States, but also included Russian nationals working at the United Nations in New York, Borisenko told the agency.

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