22:50 - 02/09/2017
US authorities have begun inspections of the headquarters of the Russian Trade Mission in Washington after the deadline for the evacuation of the building.
"The inspection is being carried out officially by the US State Department," said Nikolai Lakhonin, head of the press service at the Russian embassy in the United States, adding that the Russian side had been notified in advance.
He added that the mission's commercial staff would henceforth be working in the Russian Embassy building to follow up on their assignments, as the mission moved.
Yesterday, the US authorities asked Moscow to close its consulate building in San Francisco as of today, as well as the commercial office in Washington and its branch in New York.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced today the recall of the Minister Delegate at the US Embassy in Moscow to hand him a note of protest against the inspection of Russian diplomatic missions in the United States.
The Russian Foreign Ministry considered that the planned inspection of Russian diplomatic buildings is an unprecedented act of aggression that violates international law, calling on Washington to desist from violating international law and to invade the sanctity of diplomatic facilities.
The new US steps came in response to Moscow's request to reduce the number of personnel in the US diplomatic missions in its territory to a level of no more than the number of staff of the Russian diplomatic mission in the United States. It is interesting to note that Moscow's decision came in response to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the confiscation of some Russian diplomatic buildings by Washington late last year, under the pretext of Russian interventions alleged in the US elections.