17:34 GMT25 January 2020
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    SAN FRANCISCO (Sputnik) - Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Sunday he had examined seized Russian diplomatic properties from outside.

    "I and my colleagues went to see the building where our Consul-General resided, and then we came up to our Consulate-General," Antonov said. "These are empty buildings, there are no Russian diplomats there. It is sad."

    The ambassador, who is on a visit in San Francisco, said he felt that Russian citizens in the area suffered from lack of consular assistance.

    "I think the time will come when the United States will realize the need to return all the seized buildings unlawfully taken from us. And in this case, the US-Russia relations will develop better. And moreover, it will be easier for Russian citizens to live here."

    The ambassador noted that no one approached the diplomats while they were examining the buildings.

    "I didn’t want to provoke anyone. I want to know the condition of the Russian property," he said. "It is sad to see empty flagstaffs without Russian flags."

    READ MORE: Russia to Continue to Seek Return of Diplomatic Property in US — Kremlin

    The administration of US President Donald Trump shut down the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, and trade missions in New York City and Washington, DC last year in response to Moscow's decision to reduce the number of US diplomatic staff in Russia.

    In March, the United States closed the Russian Consulate in Seattle over allegations of Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, though the Kremlin firmly denied any involvement.

    Officials from the US Department of State entered the official residence of the former Russian consul after breaking all the locks.

    Moscow has said that the actions of the United States constituted a violation of international law, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

    READ MORE: US Searches at Russian Diplomatic Property Outrageous — Moscow


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