‘Like raiders’: Russian Consulate shows footage of US agents sweeping its SF premises (VIDEO)
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released footage which it says shows US law enforcers “behaving like raiders” while carrying out “unknown activities” in the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, which was forced to close last week.
“Representatives of the US law enforcement agencies conduct unknown activities on the territory of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco. They mutilate expensive parquet and do work without permission. Most importantly, nobody knows who these people are, who behave like raiders,” the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. The 60-second long video gathered nearly 20,000 views within hours after being posted on Facebook.
“Lawlessness,” one user wrote. “Shame,” another one added.
“Here's to you, grandmother, and your holy private property!”
The Russian Consulate in San Francisco, as well as two trade missions in Washington and New York, were forced to close last week. The US State Department said the measure came after Moscow ordered the US to reduce its diplomatic personnel in Russia.
The decision was taken by President Donald Trump personally, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in Washington last week.
“We want to halt the downward spiral and we want to move forward towards better relations; we look for opportunities to do that, but we also want to have equity in the decisions… We’re also going to make sure that we make decisions that are best for our country,” Sanders told reporters on Thursday.
The Russian Consulate-General in San Francisco called the decision “another unfriendly step of the US authorities, which, first of all, will impact hard on Russian citizens residing in the consular district, as well as on American citizens.”
“We would like to emphasize that in 2016, the Consulate-General issued more than 16,000 tourist visas for American citizens. Closure of the Consulate-General will create certain difficulties in the preparation of documents for this category of Americans,” the Consulate’s statement said last Wednesday.
Last week Russia's consul-general in San Francisco, Sergey Petrov, told RIA Novosti that while the consulate was forced to shut down, Russian diplomats who reside there “will be able to stay in the building until October 1.”
Petrov said earlier that Washington's decision will harm both Russian and American citizens living in the US region.
"Americans have often addressed our consulate with many issues, including to apply for a Russian visa.”
The consulate handled work from seven western states, and was the oldest and most established of Russia’s consulates in the US. In addition to the embassy in Washington, there are three other consulates – in New York, Seattle and Houston.
In late July, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow had told Washington to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people.
The order came following the US Congress’ approval of new sanctions against Russia, and aimed to equalize the number of both countries’ diplomatic staff by September 1. As a result, the US Embassy staff in Russia was cut by 755.