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Trump Administration Orders Closure of Russian Consulate In Seattle

Paula Wissel
Outside the Russian consulate in downtown Seattle on March 26, 2018. The consulate has been ordered closed by the Trump administration.

Along with the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, the Trump Administration has ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, the last remaining Russian consulate on the West Coast.

The U.S. order comes in response to Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former spy in Britain.

The Russian Consulate in Seattle must close by April 2. But, as KNKX found, some who tried to get visas or take care of other business at the consulate today were told they would have to go to the closest consulate in Houston.

Last August, the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco.

The Russian consulate in Seattle is on the 25th floor of One Union Square at 600 University Street downtown. After the announcement of its closure, building security did not allow reporters access to the consulate offices.

The Washington Post reports that senior administration officials believe the Seattle consulate was a key outpost in Russia's intelligence operation, citing the fact that it's close to Boeing and the Trident nuclear submarine base at Bangor.

This isn't the first time Seattle has been part of a nationwide action concerning Russian spy activities. In 2010,  two Russian sleeper agents expelled in an FBI action were living in the Seattle area. They had been here more than a decade.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.