Russian embassy in US slams comments on searches at diplomatic facilities as mocking


WASHINGTON, September 12. /TASS/. The Russian embassy in the United States considers comments made by the US Department of State on the searches at Russia’s Consulate General in San Francisco and trade mission in Washington as "purely mocking," says a statement published on the embassy’s website.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said earlier that the US personnel had "toured" the Russian diplomatic facilities. She also used the word "walkthrough."

"We consider the comments mad by US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on the searches at the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and trade mission in Washington, which she referred to as a "tour", as purely mocking," the embassy pointed out. "In fact, these are unprecedented steps contrary to bilateral conventions, international law and the US domestic legislation as well," the statement adds.

The embassy also wanted to know if there were any guarantees that the US special services "will not raid" other Russian diplomatic facilities "or diplomatic offices of other countries." "If diplomatic immunity is so easily revoked by the US, then what are we to expect next?" the embassy said.

On August 31, Washington demanded that Moscow close down its Consulate General in San Francisco and the trade mission in Washington, as well as its New York branch, by September 2.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that these facilities were Russia’s property and had diplomatic immunity. Moscow considers the seizure of its diplomatic property to be a hostile action and calls on the US authorities to immediately return it.

On September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Foreign Ministry had been instructed to file a lawsuit over the seizure of the diplomatic property with a US court.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, held on Monday in Finland’s capital of Helsinki.