The row over the Russian diplomatic properties in the US is not abating. After seizing control of Russia’s diplomatic compounds Washington continues to escalate tensions: the removal of Russian flags was followed by the mishandling of diplomatic archives.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States considers its actions regarding the removal of archives from the closed Russian Consulate General building in San Francisco as absolutely legal as the property had lost its diplomatic immunity by that time, the US Embassy in Russia said Thursday.
READ MORE: Russian Embassy Slams US for Denying Access to Diplomatic Archives
According to an embassy official, the United States withdrew its consent for Russia’s consular post in San Francisco in line with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and, as a result, “the properties are no longer considered diplomatic or consular facilities and therefore are no longer inviolable.”
The official stressed that “the State Department advised the Russian government that any property Russia considered inviolable should be removed at the time. Russian consulate personnel left these files. As a courtesy, we returned the files to the Russian Embassy,” the official stressed.
On September 2 the US authorities closed the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco. Russian diplomats were given only three days to pack and had to leave behind some documents during the evacuation. Washington promised to allow Russian diplomatic staff to collect the archives, however, diplomats were denied access to the former diplomatic facility. Instead, on October 23, the US authorities packed and transferred by themselves archives from the closed Consulate General in San Francisco to the Russian Embassy in Washington.
Moscow condemned the actions of the US as a violation of the international law and in particular Vienna Convention. In its statement Russian embassy pledged to respond to the US “neglectful attitude” in accordance with the “principle of reciprocity”, which is “a corner stone of the diplomatic relations.”