Russia Tapes US 'Invasion,' Threatens Its Own Break-Ins

(Russian Foreign Ministry)

(Russian Foreign Ministry)

The Russian government posted a series of videos Monday which it said shows a United States "invasion" of Russia's diplomatic residences in San Francisco, and then the ministry flatly threatened to treat American diplomatic facilities the same way in Russia.

"Under the police supervision the US security service employees are breaking Russian diplomatic service door lock," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in part of a stream of tweets.

Other videos show men -- perhaps from a private Bay Area locksmith company called Pop-A-Lock, rather than the Secret Service, if a nearby van is any guide -- attempting to get through locks on the gate and the front door of the building. At one point a group holds up a blue tarp in front of the gate in an apparent effort to block the cameras' views.

In a statement posted to the Foreign Ministry's website, the ministry said the following (emphasis added by Code and Dagger):

Despite warnings, U.S. authorities have refused to listen to reason and abandon their illegal intentions. Today they seized the remaining premises of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco -- the residential part of its administrative building, where the offices have been occupied for a month already by American special services, and the separate residence of the Consul General.

...We strongly protest this latest hostile act of the United States and reserve the right to respond. Reciprocity has always been a fundamental principle in diplomacy. As we see it, by breaking in into our foreign offices, the Americans have essentially agreed to the possibility of similar treatment of their representative offices in Russia.

In international relations, diplomatic property is considered the sovereign territory of the foreign nation, but Monday's apparent forced entry comes a month after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to shut down Russia's San Francisco consulate, as well as a cancery annex in Washington and a consular annex in New York by Sept. 2, according to Foreign Policy. On Sept. 1, reports emerged of smoke billowing from the chimneys of the San Fransisco consulate -- which dating back to the Cold War has been a sign that officials were burning sensitive documents. According to Russia's statement Monday, the U.S. already had access to the administrative buildings for a month now, but the videos appear to show U.S. officials gaining access to linked residential property for the first time.

On a more lighthearted note, elsewhere on the Russian Foreign Ministry Twitter feed, the ministry tweaked the CIA over a recent recruitment drive in which the CIA appeals to Russian-speakers:

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