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Russian Federation may demand USA to reduce diplomats to 300 or fewer

12 October 2017

"If they haven't appreciated this, we have the full right to reduce. the number of USA diplomats", he said, saying Moscow could stop taking Russian UN staff into account when calculating what parity between the two countries meant.

The state-run TASS news agency quoted an unnamed State Department official as saying that the flags were removed with due respect to state symbols and are safely stored inside each of the seized buildings.

The development came two days after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his American counterpart, Rex Tillerson, that the Russian diplomatic properties had been "illegally seized" by the United States government, demanding their return to Moscow's embassy in Washington.

Russia protested to the United States on October 11 over a claim that Russian flags were "stolen" from its vacated consulate in San Francisco, a charge immediately disputed by the U.S. State Department.

"As current geopolitical realities become tougher, when the United States start an unprecedented enlargement of anti-Russian sanctions and fixed this move in the form of a law it would be very logical from our side to introduce some counter-measures", he added. We perceive this as an "extremely unfriendly move, the statement said".

Earlier Russia's envoy to Washington Anatoly Antonov said he had sent a "decisive protest" to the USA over the removed flags.

In July, Moscow wanted 455 to reduce number of diplomatic and technical personnel working in Russian Federation to United States after tension of relations between two countries, 60 per cent.

Washington ordered the shutdown of the Russian diplomatic missions in a retaliatory move after the Kremlin demanded the U.S. slash staff numbers at its missions in Russia. The demand followed a vote to tighten sanctions on Russian Federation.

"Russia demands an immediate return of the flags, the embassy added".

Russian Federation may demand USA to reduce diplomats to 300 or fewer