United States destroys relations with Moscow: Russia

Russia set to reduce US diplomatic staff in Moscow from 455 to 300

Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff

Russia protested to the United States on October 11 over a claim that Russian flags were "stolen" from its vacated consulate in San Francisco, a charge immediately disputed by the U.S. State Department. "They touched our national symbols with their hands", Russia's Trade Representative to the United States Alexander Stadnik said.

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has blamed Washington for backtracking on its commitment to fix ties with Moscow.

"The removal of the Russian flags from the Russian diplomatic facilities in the US is yet another destructive step in the diplomatic war that was unleashed by the administration of the previous US President, Barack Obama".

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has once again expressed its indignation at how the USA authorities handle Russian diplomatic facilities that had been closed in the United States in response to Russia's move to expel American diplomats from Russia.

Moscow called the move a response to the previous US administration's seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats in December 2016 over allegations of election interference.

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Earlier, Russia's envoy to Washington, Mr Anatoly Antonov, said he had sent a "decisive protest" to the United States over the removed flags.

After Borisenko's statement, USA spokesman for Russian embassy Maria Olson "discoloration of relations does not serve interests of both sides". Russian Federation demanded the flags be returned in place immediately.

Washington ordered the shutdown of the Russian diplomatic missions in a retaliatory move after the Kremlin demanded the United States slash staff numbers at its missions in Russia.

"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.

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