WASHINGTON, October 12. /TASS/. Russian flags have been removed from Russia’s trade mission in Washington, Nikolai Lakhonin, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in the United States, told TASS on Wednesday.
"I confirm this information," he said when asked to comment on the situation around removal of Russian national symbols from the seized diplomatic facilities.
Russia’s embassy in the United States said earlier it had lodged a protest to the US side over removal of flags from the seized Russian diplomatic facilities in San Francisco and demanded the flags be immediately placed back.
Later on, a State Department official told TASS that Russian flags were removed from the Russian consulate general in San Francisco by US authorities and it was done with due respect to the Russian national symbols. ""The flags at the former Russian consular properties in San Francisco were respectfully lowered and are safely stored within each of the buildings," he said obviously referring to the consulate general and the consul’s residence in San Francisco.
On September 2, the US authorities shut down the Russian trade mission in Washington, DC and its branch in New York City. Besides, they demanded that the Consulate General in San Francisco should be closed and the consul general’s residence emptied. The US set a deadline of October 1 for diplomats from the consulate general in San Francisco to pack their belongings.
The US Administration says that the facilities have been stripped of diplomatic immunity. Nonetheless, they are still Russia’s state property, except the trade mission’s office in New York City leased by Moscow.