Russia shuts mission to NATO in spy row retaliation


  • World
  • Monday, 18 Oct 2021

FILE PHOTO: Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of the new NATO headquarters during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Monday it would halt the activities of its diplomatic mission to NATO after the Western military alliance expelled eight Russians saying they were spies.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said staff at NATO's military mission in Moscow would be stripped of their accreditation from Nov. 1, and the alliance's information office in the Russian capital would be shuttered.

"If NATO members have any urgent matters, they can contact our ambassador in Belgium on these questions," Lavrov told a news conference.

NATO said on Oct. 6 it had expelled https://www.reuters.com/world/nato-says-expelled-eight-members-russian-mission-alliance-2021-10-06 eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance who it said were "undeclared Russian intelligence officers".

Moscow said at the time that the expulsions undermined hopes that relations with the U.S.-led alliance could normalise.

"NATO is not interested in equitable dialogue and joint work," Lavrov said on Monday, announcing the closure of the Russian mission. "If that's the case, then we don't see the need to keep pretending that changes in the foreseeable future are possible."

NATO said on Monday it had taken note of Russia's decision.

"We regret these steps. NATO’s policy towards Russia remains consistent," NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said. "We have strengthened our deterrence and defence in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, while at the same time we remain open to dialogue, including through the NATO-Russia Council."

The dispute marks the latest deterioration in East-West ties that are already at post-Cold War lows.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Russia no longer seemed willing to talk to the West.

"It's more than just regrettable, this decision taken in Moscow," he said. "It will seriously damage the relationship."

Russia accuses NATO of provocative activity close to its borders, and staged major exercises of its own in September.

The alliance says it is determined to reinforce the security of member states close to Russia following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and its backing for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

(Reporting by Angelina Kazakova, Andrey Ostroukh, Philip Blenkinsop and Sabine Siebold; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Mark Trevelyan, Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Belgian arms trader tangles with minister over tanks for Ukraine
Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny says he's in harsher solitary cell for six months
Ukraine raids tycoon's home, tax office in wartime clampdown
Hundreds of Afghans risk 11-country trek to seek haven in United States
Romanian court to rule on ex-kickboxer Tate's detention appeal
Ukraine raids home of billionaire in war-time anti-corruption crackdown
Red Cross: Hospitals in Ethiopia's Tigray region struggle to deliver care
Adani loses Asia's richest crown as stock rout deepens to $84 billion
Tech company CEO apologises for ‘insensitive’ use of Martin Luther King Jr quote in layoffs email
As ice recedes, Italian ship makes record journey into Antarctic

Others Also Read