We appear to have a minor diplomatic incident unfolding at the former Russian consular residence in Seattle.
State Department officials here at the Russian Consulate House in Seattle. They forced their way in this morning. Residents left by deadline of midnight last night. @KING5Seattle pic.twitter.com/jPa846v6yv
— elisa hahn (@ElisaHahnK5) April 25, 2018
From what I can tell, this is the sequence of events. The consulate was one of the facilities ordered closed last month. Russian diplomats had until last night to evacuate the residence. The consulate itself closed earlier.
US State Department diplomatic security personnel drilled through the locks and entered the residence to verify that it had been completely evacuated and, one assumes, look around to see whether anything valuable was left behind from an intelligence point of view.
Russian officials meanwhile are saying they still own the property, so the search is unwarranted if not illegal.
My impression is that this is not terribly surprising on either side. It’s the kind of prickliness you see when you have increasingly antagonistic relations between two countries.
Here is one of a number of tweets from the Russian Embassy in DC.
US special services are trying to enter Russian diplomatic property in Seattle pic.twitter.com/sRGCSDOZGD
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) April 25, 2018
Here’s the response from the State Department …
FACT: In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the U.S. withdrew consent for establishment and operation of #Russia’s consular post in Seattle. We did so in response to the Russian government’s use of military-grade nerve agent on #UK soil. 1/2 https://t.co/xm78OyVngO
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) April 25, 2018