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Russian diplomats leave Seattle after consulate closed — senior consul

Russian diplomats have already taken the archive and valuable equipment out of the building

NEW YORK, April 25. /TASS/. Diplomats from the Russian Consulate General in Seattle are leaving the city on Tuesday, Senior Consul Khalit Aisin has told TASS.

"We are now leaving the premises of the consul general’s residence, which is Russia’s diplomatic property and which we had to leave by 23:59 local time on April 24 (09:59 Wednesday Moscow time - TASS)," he said. "We are leaving Seattle and are heading to Washington. Our convoy has 11 cars. They carry 23 people - diplomats and their family members, including children."

Head of the Russian embassy’s Consular Section, Nikolai Pukalov, told TASS that Russian diplomats have already taken the archive and valuable equipment out of the building.

"The convoy of the consulate general’s employees, along with the consular archive and most valuable equipment, has headed to the embassy in Washington," he said. "Right now, the residence is locked, the flag remains at the flagstaff, the plaque also remains in place."

In late March, the US administration announced it was expelling 48 Russian diplomats and 12 diplomats from Russia’s permanent mission to the UN in New York. It also closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

The move came in the wake of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.