According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the US returned the archive and flags of the consulate general in San Francisco, but their actions concerning Russia's diplomatic compounds are still regarded by Moscow as a violation of international norms.
In early September, at the request of the US authorities, the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and trade missions in Washington and New York were closed. After the facilities were seized from Russia, country's national flags were removed from the buildings of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the Trade Representation in Washington, DC.
"Yes, they have returned flags and the consular archive. But all this is accompanied by a series of actions that are absolutely unacceptable for us. These actions grossly violate the provisions of both the international consular convention of 1963 and the bilateral consular convention," Ryabkov told reporters.
Earlier, the Russian embassy in Washington reported that the US handed them the archive of the former Russian consulate general in San Francisco, but did not allow the Russian side to take documents from the building independently in violation of international norms. The embassy reminded them that consular archives and documents are inviolable at any time and irrespective of their location.
Ryabkov reiterated Moscow's position on the issue, saying that Russia warned the United States about possible steps in response to such provocative actions.
"I would like to say that the constant provocative steps and methods used by the American side in this sensitive sphere lead us to the idea that they are privately ready, that similar actions are quite permissible with their consular and diplomatic institutions," Ryabkov told journalists.
"We are not taking them [similar steps], because we have a different attitude to the basics of diplomatic and consular relations, but the international law allows us a direct reciprocity, mirroring, if the country is subjected to this kind of unacceptable and hostile actions. After such actions, the country gets the right to respond in absolutely the same way," Ryabkov stressed.
He summarized saying that Russia 'warns the American side that such things will not be forgotten'.
Diplomatic Property Row
Back in December, Russian President Putin has taken a decision not to respond to sanctions imposed by the outgoing US administration and act in accordance with the relations, which would be built with the new US leadership. However, the US has not returned the diplomatic property since then.
Later on, after the Donald Trump's administration has approved a bill imposing sweeping sanctions on Moscow, Russia has suspended the use of all US embassy warehouses in Moscow and offered Washington to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1.
In its turn, Washington urged Moscow to close down its consulate general in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC. Days later, the US conducted searches in the buildings of the Russian General Consulate in San Francisco and its trade mission in Washington in a move described by the Russian Foreign Ministry as a violation of international law, including the Vienna convention on diplomatic and consular relations.
According to the latest statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, he had instructed the country's Foreign Ministry to file a lawsuit over the situation. This plan was voiced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his talks with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson.
Commenting on the situation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow will bring the work of US missions in Russia to full accord "with what is called parity."