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US authorities take control of Russian trade mission building in Washington

US guards had been deployed to the building

WASHINGTON, September 3. /TASS/. US officials told Russian diplomats they would make a video record in the building of the Russian trade mission in Washington after de-facto assuming control over it, a spokesman for Russia’s embassy in the US said on Saturday.

"Our staff left the trade mission’s territory. US officials remain there. We have no idea of what they are doing there now. It was claimed that they would make a video record there," Nikolai Lakhonin said.

He added that two Russian diplomats were present during the inspection, but were ordered to leave at some point.

"They were present during the inspection - two embassy officials," Lakhonin said. "At some point they were told to leave the territory."

On August 31, Washington demanded that Moscow close down its Consulate-General in San Francisco and the trade mission in Washington, as well as its New York branch, by September 2. The US side says that the building’s diplomatic immunity expires on 14:00 on Saturday (21:00 Moscow time).

Head of the Russian trade mission in Washington, Alexander Stadnik, earlier told reporters that the facility was de-facto under control of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the security and law enforcement arm of the US Department of State.