MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A story about staff members of Russian Consulate General in San Francisco allegedly seeking political asylum in the United States was launched as an attempt to divert attention from the shutdown of Russian diplomatic properties, Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Saturday.
On Thursday, the US State Department said in a press release that Washington had demanded that Moscow close down its Consulate General in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC by Saturday.
"A fake story about staff members of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco 'seeking political asylum' was launched to divert attention from the actions of the US security services with regard to Russian diplomats and diplomatic property, outrageous from the legal point of view," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that US Security services were planning to search the premises of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco. The US State Department said, when asked about the searches, that the agency intended to "secure and maintain the properties in keeping with our responsibilities."