Russian diplomats, families forced to leave San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- By Saturday, 35 Russian diplomats will be leaving the country on orders of President Obama as payback for Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

The Consul General in San Francisco held a surprise news conference on Friday, expressing bitterness about the diplomats being kicked out of the consulate.

Four people Obama has classified as intelligence operatives are leaving along with seven family members, including three children. "They have to leave within hours and it's just not human, frankly, not human," Consul General Sergey Petrov.

FULL VIDEO: Consul General makes comment on sanctions against Russia
EMBED More News Videos

The Russian Consul General made a comment on the four San Francisco staff members being forced to leave the country.

Petrov says these expulsions represent a low point in U.S.-Russia relations. "How we see our relationship between the two countries is not normal. We have to do much better," he said.

One of those being forced to get out is reportedly the chef, who apparently prepared one last party buffet for the consulate on Friday.

Petrov says the ouster of the Russians during the holidays is particularly upsetting. "Unfortunately, they have to leave without celebrating New Year's Eve, which is one of the biggest holidays in Russia."

With fewer staff, business will be impacted at the consulate. Katya Parker came for a passport on Friday. She's hoping for the best with this diplomatic flap. "Sometimes it's politics and sometimes it happens," she said.

The Russians are expected to clear out by Saturday. They'll drive to Los Angeles then fly back to Russia.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.