Russian flags removed from Russian consulate by U.S. authorities

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Moscow has lodged a protest with Washington, accusing United States officials of tearing down Russian flags from two of its diplomatic missions in the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday (Oct 12).

Tensions between Washington and Moscow rise as Russian flags were removed from the buildings of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the Trade Representation in Washington, DC. In addition, US officials said that the US State Department ensures the safety of the Russian diplomatic property and keeps it in order accordingly.

In an interview on state television, Russia's new Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov called the taking down of the flags "upsetting".

"Unfriendly steps by the United States run counter to the claims it made earlier about its desire to restore US-Russian relations", Sputnik quoted the diplomat as saying.

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In December 2016, two Russian diplomatic properties in NY and Maryland used by Russian diplomats were closed by the Obama administration over accusations of alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election.

In an English-language statement on its Facebook page late on Wednesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it had sent a protest note "to the American side" against the removal of several Russian flags from the San Francisco property.

After Borisenko's statement, USA spokesman for Russian embassy Maria Olson "discoloration of relations does not serve interests of both sides".

The Russian Embassy in Washington has forwarded an official protest to the U.S. authorities with a demand to return Russian state symbols to their flag poles. "We demand the U.S.immediately returns the Russian state symbols to their place and prevents such incidents in the future", the embassy said in a statement. According to State Department representatives, the flags were lowered with due respect to be kept safely in the building.

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