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MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. US plans on carrying out searches at the Russian diplomatic mission and apartments in San Francisco may become a gross violation of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.
"Leaving aside the political and judicial ineligibility of the decision on the closure in principle, I strongly deny the right of Americans to penetrate service and private premises of the Consulate General on grounds that it does not exist anymore," said Kosachev, who chairs Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) International Affairs Committee.
The senator noted that the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, a basic and absolutely indisputable document in this area, recognized by the US, clearly says that even in case of a war between countries staff members of diplomatic missions have immunity and privileges until they leave the country.
The declared intentions and possible further steps of US authorities on carrying out searches of the Consulate General’s premises in San Francisco are an "unequivocal, rude and unprecedented violation" of the Vienna Convention and the US commitments under it.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement earlier on Friday that US special services plan to conduct on September 2 a search of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the apartments of its staff members, who have immunity.
On Thursday, the US issued a demand to the Russian government to close down by September 2 the Consulate General in San Francisco and another two diplomatic facilities, one in Washington and one in New York, saying the move was aimed at restoring parity in diplomatic relations with Russia.
A senior US administration official told a news briefing for reporters by telephone the decision implied the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and the trade missions in Washington and New York. She said along with it the US did not demand that the Russian staff employed at these legations be sent off home.