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Russia hands note of protest to US over plans to search trade mission

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned a US diplomat in Moscow to hand him a note of protest over plans to conduct searches in Russia’s trade mission complex in Washington, which should soon be closed, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It said it has summoned Anthony F. Godfrey, a deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow.

The ministry called the planned “illegal inspection” of Russian diplomatic housing an “unprecedented aggressive action”, which could be used by the US special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by the way of “planting compromised items”.

Read More: Washington tells Russia to close consulate, buildings in US

The closure by Sept. 2 of the consulate and buildings in Washington and New York that house Russian trade missions is the latest in tit-for-tat actions by the two countries that have helped push relations to a new post-Cold War low.

The Kremlin has said the moves to close the Russian facilities pushed bilateral ties further into a dead end.

On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry also said the U.S. special services were prepared for searches in its consulate in San Francisco.

Some media reported that a smoke was billowing from a chimney of the building. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the ministry, said it was part of a “mothballing”.

Read More: Russia warns US against using force over North Korea

Moscow last month ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, to 455 people to match the number of Russian diplomats in the United States, after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia.



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