Rus­sia protests US over con­sulate flags 'hos­tile act'

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - International -

MOSCOW has lodged a protest with Wash­ing­ton, ac­cus­ing U.S. of­fi­cials of tear­ing down Rus­sian flags from two of its diplo­matic mis­sions in the coun­try, the for­eign min­istry said yes­ter­day.

Rus­sian news agen­cies cited the Rus­sian em­bassy as say­ing it had lodged a for­mal protest over the in­ci­dent. “A strong protest was sent to the Amer­i­can side in re­la­tion to Rus­sian flags be­ing torn down at our diplo­matic prop­er­ties in San Fran­cisco, which are un­der the con­trol of U.S. au­thor­i­ties,” In­ter­fax news agency quoted the em­bassy as say­ing in a state­ment. “We con­sider this as an ex­tremely un­friendly step,” the em­bassy said.

In late Au­gust, the United States or­dered Rus­sia to close its con­sulate in San Fran­cisco and two other in­stal­la­tions as re­la­tions be­tween the two for­mer Cold War en­e­mies took an­other dive.

“Yes­ter­day we learnt about a new ... hos­tile act of the U.S. au­thor­i­ties against our diplo­matic mis­sions,” for­eign min­istry spokes­woman Maria Zakharova told re­porters yes­ter­day, warn­ing that Moscow would re­tal­i­ate. She said Rus­sian flags “had been torn off the build­ings of Rus­sia’s trade mis­sion in Wash­ing­ton and the gen­eral con­sulate in San Fran­cisco,” she said, Rus­sian news agen­cies re­ported.

“Ob­vi­ously the Rus­sian side has never agreed to its flags be­ing removed,” she added, call­ing the re­moval “a vi­o­la­tion of a Rus­sian state sym­bol.” “The Rus­sian side will de­cide on re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures,” Zakharova said.

Ear­lier Rus­sia’s envoy to Wash­ing­ton Ana­toly Antonov said he had sent a “de­ci­sive protest” to the U.S. over the removed flags. “Such steps only com­pli­cate US-Rus­sian dia­logue,” he said in tele­vised re­marks.

“We de­mand an im­me­di­ate end to the takeover of our prop­erty in the US which is ac­com­pa­nied by of­fen­sive ac­tions,” Antonov added.

“The flags at the for­mer Rus­sian con­sular prop­er­ties in San Fran­cisco were re­spect­fully low­ered and are safely stored within each of the build­ings,” a U.S. State Depart­ment of­fi­cial said in an email.

Moscow had pre­vi­ously ac­cused the United States of search­ing its mis­sions and diplo­matic staff ’s ac­com­mo­da­tion. Wash­ing­ton or­dered the shut­down of the Rus­sian diplo­matic mis­sions in a re­tal­ia­tory move after the Krem­lin de­manded the U.S. slash staff num­bers at its mis­sions in Rus­sia.

The lat­est diplo­matic spat is the lat­est twist in tor­tured ties be­tween the US and Rus­sia, which have slumped to their low­est point since the Cold War fol­low­ing the Krem­lin’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The West slapped pun­ish­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sia over its med­dling in its ex-Soviet neigh­bor, spark­ing a re­venge em­bargo from Moscow against agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.