WASHINGTON, October 12. /TASS/. Russian flags were removed from the Russian consulate general in San Francisco by US authorities, a State Department official told TASS on Wednesday.
He stressed that it had been 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.
He pledged that the State Department is responsible for the safety of these facilities and is maintaining them in due condition.
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.
These facilities have been actually taken under control of the Diplomatic Security Service, a law enforcement and security arm of the US Department of State.
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.