08:25 GMT25 January 2021
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    Smoke seen over Russia’s consulate in San Francisco resulted from measures to "conserve" the building after the United States ordered it vacated by Saturday, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Firefighters were called to the site after reports of smoke pouring out of the mission's chimney. The Fire Department later said on Twitter there had been a fire alarm but no fire.

    "Measures are underway to conserve the building, which may include shutting the windows, pulling down curtains, turning off the lights, draining water, locking the doors, throwing away garbage, switching off the heaters… and much more," spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

    The US Department of State forced the closure of the Russian consulate and two trade missions in New York and Washington on Thursday amid a rise in tensions between the two countries.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday US security services were going to search the consulate premises on Saturday, including staff apartments, in a move seen as a flagrant violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    Consulate General, Conservation, Maria Zakharova, Russia, US, San Francisco
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