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Russia Complains As U.S. Agents Take Control Of Consulate

Officials of the Russian Consulate-General load furniture into a vehicle in San Francisco on September 2.
Officials of the Russian Consulate-General load furniture into a vehicle in San Francisco on September 2.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has again complained about U.S. law enforcement taking over the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, threatening unspecified retaliation against U.S. diplomats.

The ministry issued the statement on October 2 as it posted videos to some of its social-media sites showing agents breaking a lock on the consulate gates and driving vehicles onto the grounds.

"The gates leading to the territory of the Russian diplomatic community have succumbed to the aggressive onslaught of the Americans," said one of the more incendiary posts published on the Foreign Ministry's Twitter account.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement earlier on October 2 that it had conducted "a walk-through to secure the residential portions of the buildings and confirm that all residents had left the premises."

In August, Washington ordered Russia to vacate its consulate in San Francisco and two trade annexes in Washington and New York by September 2.

The State Department made that demand after Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455 by September 1, which Russian President Putin said meant cutting 755 personnel, in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow over Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Putin has denounced what he called Washington's "boorish and unprecedented" actions toward Russia's diplomatic facilities.

U.S. officials say the United States has taken no improper diplomatic or law enforcement action.

Late last year, U.S. officials ordered the expulsion of nearly three dozen Russian diplomats and the seizure of two diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York in response to alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election.

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