13:45 GMT26 November 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian authorities, including the Foreign Ministry staff, will not follow US suit by conducting illegal searches of US embassies or consulates, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday.

    "If you are hinting that the Russian diplomats or any other representatives of the governing bodies will come to a US embassy or consulate… and will perform certain [illegal] actions with the US property or even with the rented premises – then no, it is not about us," Zakharova said during a TV program dubbed Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov.

    She added that videos about searches of the recently closed Russian Consulate in Seattle were sensational.

    "I have never seen anything like this before… As our colleagues at the State Department said, legal action was taken in some hellish way. When three women surrounded the gate, one climbed on the fence and covered it with a blue sheet behind which a man hid and was doing something there," Zakharova explained.

    She also stressed that Russia continued to prepare for trials in US courts over the case concerning the seizure of Russian diplomatic property.

    The statement referred to the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle over allegations about Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom. Russia has strongly and repeatedly denied involvement in the case, carried out under US President Donald Trump order made on March 26.

    READ MORE: US Authorities Combing Through Residence of Russian Consul General in Seattle

    The US government had demanded that Russian diplomatic staff leave the residence before midnight on April 24. The next day, US officials came to the closed residence of the Russian Consul General in Seattle, opened the gates and entered the building. Explaining on the move, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter that it was not intrusion but a legal action in response to "Russia's continuing, outrageous behavior." The diplomat declared that the US officials entered the residence to ensure that it had been cleared.

    READ MORE: Russian Consulate Sweep in Seattle Crosses ‘Red Line' — Moscow

    Prior to that, in early September 2017, Russian diplomats lost access to several diplomatic properties when US authorities ordered to close the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and trade missions in New York City and Washington, D.C. As US officials explained their decision, the move came in response to Moscow's decision in late July to reduce the number of US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russia had in the United States.

    READ MORE: Closure of Russia's Seattle Consulate to Effect US Citizens Over Time — Council

    The US authorities also removed the Russian flags from the seized Russian diplomatic buildings and later returned them to the Russian side.

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

    diplomatic scandal, Russian consulate, Russian Foreign Ministry, United Kingdom, Seattle, US, Russia
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