Russia May Demand US Cut Diplomatic Staff

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In July, Moscow ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic and technical staff working in Russian Federation by around 60 percent, to 455, part of a diplomatic row.

"The Russian side will decide on retaliatory measures", Ms Zakharova said.

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.

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She said that by breaking into the Russian diplomatic properties, the US special services showed that they were ready for Moscow to act in a similar manner.

"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 USA authorities".

"Such steps only complicate US-Russian dialogue", he said in televised remarks.

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Russia is considering reduce US diplomatic presence in Moscow according to reports from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

According to Zakharova, the statement from the US State Department which said that no one deprived Russian Federation of the rights for those buildings was "outright hypocrisy".

Russian Federation has drastically scaled down the US diplomatic staff in Russian Federation to 455 people and seized a USA dacha and a warehouse in Moscow in retaliation to Washington's actions.

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"We consider this incident as a desecration of the Russian state symbols", the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing. According to State Department representatives, the flags were lowered with due respect to be kept safely in the building. US State Department officials, in turn, said that employees of the department made the round of the Russian premises after all diplomats had left them. Nonetheless, they are still Russia's state property, except the trade mission's office in New York City leased by Moscow.

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