Feds shut down Russian consulate in Seattle

Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016, arriving for a meeting with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by State Department via Flickr.)

The Trump administration has given the Russian Consulate located in Seattle until April 2 to close. The U.S. and 20 other countries have started to expel Russian officials after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in London.

Scotland Yard is accusing the Kremlin of being behind the alleged assassination attempt.

White House officials said the decision to oust the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle was based on its close proximity to Boeing and the Naval Base Kitsap, a U.S. submarine base in Bangor — considered one of the nation’s largest nuclear reserves, according to reports from the Seattle Times. 

The consulate serves 11 states including Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Washington alone is home to 88,000 Russians of which about 28 percent are foreign-born.

On Monday morning, shortly after news broke that the Trump Administration had expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the country, the consulate in Seattle had already began turning away those seeking service.

The Russian government is facing international backlash, after evidence emerged that Russia meddled with the 2016 U.S. elections.

Trump has not made any public comment on the poisoning in London. However, Trump fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the day after the latter said Russia was responsible.

In a statement, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney in the Department of Justice, questioned why it had taken so long for the U.S. to take action against Russia.

“When Seattle was previously targeted by Russian hackers, we acted and brought Roman Seleznev to justice,” said Durkan in the statement. “Attacks from Russian intelligence, including interference in the 2016 election, need to be met with aggressive enforcement against those who participate or cooperate.”