BERLIN (Sputnik) — The German Foreign Ministry would be disappointed to seerelations between Moscow and Washington tumble into a new "ice age," the ministry's representative Rainer Breul said Monday in light of recent closure and searches in Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.
"Last week in Washington, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel made it clear that he would not favor a new 'ice age' in Russia-US relations," Breul told a briefing, answering the question on the recent searches.
The ministry refused to comment directly on the incidents, stressing that this was a matter concerning only Russia and the United States.On Thursday, the US State Department ordered Moscow to close down its Consulate General in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC by Saturday. After Russian diplomats left the US Trade Representative building in Washington, US security agents entered the premises and conducted a search, which, from Moscow's perspective, was a breach of international law. The US State Department argues that the officers had carried out a lawful inspection of the facilities.
In December 2016, then-US President Barack Obama decided to expel 35 Russian diplomats and block access to two Russia's diplomatic compounds as a response to Moscow's reported meddling in the presidential election in the United States.
In late July, Moscow announced its decision to reduce the US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russia has in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the US Embassy in Russia suspended the processing of non-migration visas due to staff cuts.