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Russia Summons US Diplomat over Plans to Search Trade Mission Complex in Washington | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a personal send-off for members of Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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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 on Saturday.

Washington on Thursday ordered the Russian consulate in San Francisco, and two buildings in Washington and New York that house trade missions to be shut down by Saturday, in a retaliatory move after the Kremlin demanded the US slash staff numbers at its Russian diplomatic missions.

It said it has summoned Anthony F. Godfrey, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow according to the embassy web site.

The ministry called the planned “illegal inspection” of Russian diplomatic housing an “unprecedented aggressive action”, which could be used by the U.S. special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by the way of “planting compromised items”.

The closure by Sept. 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 fresh diplomatic spat is the latest twist in tortured ties between the US and Russia.

US-Russian ties have only gotten worse since Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The West slapped punishing sanctions on Russia over its meddling in its ex-Soviet neighbor, sparking a revenge embargo from Moscow against agricultural products.