ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A Russian flag that had flown on Rochester's Sister Cities Pedestrian Bridge was taken down for unknown reasons amid growing tension between the U.S. and the eastern European nation.

The Democrat & Chronicle reports ( ) the flag, which was no longer flying Thursday, represents the city of Veliky Novgorod — one of Rochester's 12 sister cities.

Veliky Novgorod has been sister cities with Rochester since 1990. The municipality lies between Moscow and St. Petersburg and boasts a population of roughly 200,000.

It's unclear whether the flag was pulled down intentionally. None of the other flags on the bridge were disturbed.

The purpose of sister cities has been generally described as a way to foster person-to-person interactions across international borders.

City officials didn't immediately respond to requests seeking comment.


Information from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,