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Russia summons US diplomat to protest planned trade mission search

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned a US diplomat in Moscow to protest Washington’s plans to conduct searches at Russia’s trade mission in Washington.

According to Press TV quoting a Foreign Ministry statement on Saturday, Anthony F. Godfrey, a Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, was summoned and handed a note of protest regarding the planned “illegal inspection” of the Russian diplomatic complex.

The statement denounced the plan as an “unprecedented aggressive action,” which could be used by the US special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by the way of “planting compromised items.”

The Russian consulate and buildings in Washington and New York that house Russian trade missions are planned to be shut down by September 2.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the American special services were also getting prepared for searches in its San Francisco consulate.

The plan for the closure of the Russian diplomatic missions come in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision on July 30 to cut American diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half to 455 people after Congress slapped new sanctions against Moscow.

Putin said Moscow had run out of patience waiting for relations with the United States to improve.

While US President Donald Trump himself has been perceived as open to warmer relations with Russia, the US Congress took action to punish Moscow for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

There have been claims that Russia attempted to sway the election in favor of Trump by hacking computers belonging to his rival’s campaign and dumping potentially compromising information online.

Russia has consistently denied the accusations of meddling, warning in the meantime that the US has to return the diplomatic premises.