U.S. Denies Breaking Into Seized Russian Consulate

U.S. officials did not break into a Russian consulate building in San Francisco, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Moscow threatened retaliation on Monday after it said U.S. agents broke into the San Francisco consulate building’s residential section. It warned that Washington had “essentially agreed to the possibility of similar treatment of their representative offices in Russia.”

The building and several other consular properties in the U.S. were vacated by Russian diplomatic staff on Washington’s orders early September. The move came after Moscow instructed the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia to cut its staff by hundreds of people in a series of tit-for-tat measures.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a press briefing Tuesday that Washington issued an Oct. 1 deadline for people remaining in the “office-type space” to vacate.

“We did not break locks, no FBI involved,” Nauert said. “This is Diplomatic Security along with foreign missions office.”

She reiterated the State Department’s previous statements to local media that the U.S. officials carried out a walk-through at the two-story brownstone building.