fbpx
News

Spy Case: Russia, US Envoys Leave Washington, St. Petersburg [Video]

Russian diplomats and their families climbed aboard buses and left their embassy in Washington on Saturday while across the Atlantic, American envoys took down the flag from outside the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg, loaded up boxes, closed the office down and headed home.

The moves were the latest in a spy poisoning case that has escalated East-West tensions, with both sides expelling more than 150 of each other’s diplomats from two dozen countries.

Britain has insisted that the Russian government was behind the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter March 4 in the English city of Salisbury, a charge the Russians vehemently deny.

The Tass news agency says all of the 60 Russian diplomats ordered out of the United States were heading for a homebound flight on Saturday night.

In St. Petersburg, workers at the US consulate hurried to meet the Saturday deadline to close the consulate, imposed by Russia just two days earlier. In brief comments to reporters, U.S. Consul-General Thomas Leary said “we are ready to leave.”

A truck with bags and boxes left the consulate in the late afternoon, its driver waving and honking his horn several times. Outside the elegant 19th-century building, someone had placed four yellow tulips and a card from neighbors reading “hope to see you again.”

City workers came to inspect the building late Saturday, but it was not clear if all the staff had departed.

Russians watching the activity expressed mixed views on the consulate’s closure.

“The American side always knows that we can strike back if we are attacked,” said Valentina Petrova, 77.

But 24-year-old Artem Zykov saw it differently.

“Russia should have found different mechanisms to respond without such radical measures,” Zykov said.

British officials, meanwhile, said Saturday the government is considering Russia’s request for access to the daughter of the former Russian double agent. Russian officials insist they have a legal right to see 33-year-old Yulia Skripal, who lived in Moscow and was visiting her father, Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury when they were attacked with a nerve agent that apparently came through his front door.

The Foreign Office said it was reviewing the Russian request “in line with our obligations under international and domestic law,” adding that the government’s consideration will include “the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal.”

The Russian Embassy in London called her recovery “good news” in a tweet Friday and said Russian diplomats had a right to see her under the 1968 Consular Convention.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday also issued lists of questions it wants Britain and France to answer in the case, including to what extent French investigators have been involved in probing the poisoning and why.

Russia contends that Britain is exploiting “Russophobia” to undermine Moscow. On Saturday, its London embassy issued a statement warning Russians travelling to the U.K. that they could be subject to “provocations” including having various items planted in their luggage.

In another illustration of the deteriorating relations, the Russian Embassy in Britain complained about the alleged search of a Russian airliner at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The embassy said British Border Forces and Customs officers searched an Aeroflot flight from Moscow on Friday in violation of international rules. In a tweet, the embassy called it “another blatant provocation by the British authorities.”

British officials responded Saturday that it’s routine to search some incoming flights. Russia has sent a diplomatic note demanding an explanation of the search, which delayed the flight to Moscow.

This story originally appeared in Associated Press.

Join The Discussion

Trump's Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat
Trump’s Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat [Video]
World's 26 Richest People Own As Much As Poorest 50%
World’s 26 Richest People Own As Much As Poorest 50%
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed [Video]
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal [Video]
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
Number Of Bitcoin ATMs Hits 4,000 Globally
Bitcoin ATMs Hits 4,000 Globally-Why Is It Growing So Fast?
Is Bitcoin Building Support Above $3,500
Is Bitcoin Building Support Above $3,500?
Belarus Allows Traders To Buy Shares With Bitcoin
Belarus Allows Traders To Buy Shares With Bitcoin
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019 [Infographic]
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond [Infographic]
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019 [Infographic]
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
Instagram's Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
Instagram’s Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
What Is Your Therapist Listening For
What Is Your Therapist Listening For?
Wish You Were Smarter
Wish You Were Smarter? These 4 Brain Hacks Can Help You Get There
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Trump's Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat
Trump’s Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat [Video]
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed [Video]
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal [Video]
Coming To Canada 'Worth The Risk,' Says Saudi Teen Refugee
Coming To Canada ‘Worth The Risk,’ Says Saudi Teen Refugee [Video]