- The Russian Foreign Minister announced at a press conference that Russia will suspend its mission in NATO.
- Sergei Lavrov said the move came in response to NATO’s expulsion of eight members of the Russian mission from the military alliance last week.
- NATO had alleged that the eight members were secretly working as intelligence agents and halved the number of Moscow employees who were allowed to work at their headquarters.
In response to the revocation of the accreditation of Russian diplomats, Russia will stop the work of its permanent representation to NATO in Brussels from the beginning of November. And Foreign Minister Lavrov told the media that the work of the NATO Information Office in Moscow would also be terminated. In addition, the NATO military mission in Moscow should not continue to operate. As of November 1, their employees’ credits will be withdrawn.
“NATO is not interested in equal dialogue or cooperation,” Lavrov said. In urgent cases, the military coalition can turn to the Russian ambassador in Belgium.
Ten days ago, the military alliance withdrew its accreditation from eight Russian diplomats because, as members of the Russian mission to NATO, they were said to have also worked in intelligence. It was also decided to reduce the maximum size of the Russian mission. Instead of 20, only ten people should be adopted in the future. Then Moscow announced countermeasures.
NATO did not provide any details
After the decision, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg left it open as to whether Russian officials at NATO were involved in classic espionage or were simply not publicized as intelligence personnel. A NATO spokesperson said the decision to withdraw the accreditation was based on the findings of the intelligence service itself, and did not comment on this.
At that time there was clear criticism of the Kremlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that this step contradicts the statements of NATO representatives about the desired improvement in relations. “Of course, these actions do not allow us to have illusions about a possible normalization of relations and the resumption of dialogue with NATO,” he added.
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