03:46 GMT +324 July 2019
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    The Russian Consulate building, where smoke was seen coming from its roof, is seen in San Francisco, California September 1, 2017

    Moscow: Story About Russian Diplomats Seeking Asylum Launched as Distraction

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    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (42)
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    The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry says that a story about staff members of Russian Consulate General seeking political asylum in the US was launched to distract attention from the actions of the US with regard to Russian diplomatic properties.

    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.

    Earlier in the day, the Russian Embassy in the United States said its personnel had been allowed to be present during the searches at the building of the Russian Trade Representation in Washington, DC.

    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."

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    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (42)

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    Consulate General, shutdown, United States, Russia
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