Moscow [Russia], Oct 12 (ANI): The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed Washington for removing its flags from Russian diplomatic properties in the US, and said "Washington deliberately destroys relations with Moscow".
"Washington deliberately destroys relations with Moscow", the Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Thursday.
"These are absolutely illegal, absolutely provocative and absolutely unfriendly actions of those who seek to hamper restoration of normal relations. They touched our national symbols with their hands", Russia's Trade Representative to the United States Alexander Stadnik said.
Tensions between Washington and Moscow rise as Russian flags were removed from the buildings of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the Trade Representation in Washington, DC.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has blamed Washington for backtracking on its commitment to repair ties with Moscow.
"Unfriendly steps by the United States run counter to the claims it made earlier about its desire to restore US-Russian relations," Sputnik quoted the diplomat as saying.
The Russian Mission to the US released photos of the closed diplomatic facility without Russian state flags on Wednesday.
Russia vehemently opposed the US move to take down its flags from its ceased diplomatic properties in San Francisco, Sputnik quoted the statement of the Russian embassy in Washington D.C.
"A strong objection was sent to the American side in the wake of the removal of Russian flags from the diplomatic property in San Francisco, controlled by the US authorities. We perceive this as an "extremely unfriendly move, the statement said.
"Russia demands an immediate return of the flags, the embassy added. We demand the U.S.immediately returns the Russian state symbols to their place and prevents such incidents in the future," the embassy said in a statement.
A U.S. Department of State official told Sputnik that Russian flags were "respectfully" lowered by US officials at former Russian properties in Washington, DC and San Francisco, when the buildings were closed.
"The flags at the former Russian consular properties in San Francisco were respectfully lowered and are safely stored within each of the buildings," the official said on Wednesday. "The flag at the former Russian Washington, DC property was also taken down and is safely stored within the building."(ANI)