In July, Moscow told the United States to slash the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russian Federation by around 60 percent, to 455, in a further sign of souring relations. "This was done by the people who invaded the Russian territory without an invitation, broke the gates, the entrance doors, and have been doing there what they want since then not even like raiders, but rather like occupants", Zakharova said.
People walk past the Consulate-General of Russian Federation in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016.
On September 2, the USA authorities shut down the Russian trade mission in Washington, DC and its branch in New York City.
"Russia sent a protest note to the American side with respect to the removal of Russian flags from the diplomatic properties in San Francisco, which are now under the control of the U.S. authorities", the statement said.
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He stressed that it had been done with due respect to the Russian national symbols. He also said that the Russian parliament already had experience with a "legislative response" to unfriendly actions of other nations, such as with the 2012 Dima Yakovlev law banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens or by proxy of United States organizations, and introducing asset freezes and entry bans targeting particular USA officials who had violated the rights of Russian citizens. The US set a deadline of October 1 for diplomats from the consulate general in San Francisco to pack their belongings.
Russia is considering reduce US diplomatic presence in Moscow according to reports from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. During the recent months, Russian representatives have been denied access to five objects of the Russian diplomatic property in the United States.
"We consider such a move as an extremely unfriendly step", the post, which was accompanied by photos of the former consulate building stripped of flags, said.
"Russia demands an immediate return of the flags, the embassy added".