Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned a US diplomat in Moscow to hand him a note of protest over plans to conduct searches in Russia’s trade mission complex in Washington, which should soon be closed, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
It said it has summoned Anthony F. Godfrey, a deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow.
The ministry called the planned “illegal inspection” of Russian diplomatic housing an “unprecedented aggressive action”, which could be used by the US special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by the way of “planting compromised items”.
The closure by September 2 of the consulate and buildings in Washington and New York that house Russian trade missions is the latest in tit-for-tat actions by the two countries that have helped push relations to a new post-Cold War low.
The Kremlin has said the moves to close the Russian facilities pushed bilateral ties further into a dead end.
On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry also said the US special services were prepared for searches in its consulate in San Francisco.
Some media reported that a smoke was billowing from a chimney of the building.
The publication Foreign Policy reported that staff at the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in Washington DC were seen dumping paper into the fire.
The Associated Press reported that consular staff told firefighters that there was no problem; they were burning unidentified items in a fireplace. Consul Sergey Petrov declined to comment about what was being burned inside.