Russia will suspend the activities of its mission to NATO starting next month in response to the alliance’s expulsion of eight Russians.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies on Monday that staff at NATO’s military mission in Moscow would be stripped of their accreditation from November 1, and that NATO could interact with Russia via its embassy in Brussels if needed.
“We basically don’t have proper conditions for basic diplomatic activities as a result of the purposeful NATO steps. In response to NATO’s activities, we suspend the work of our permanent mission to NATO, including the work of the chief military representative, starting from November 1, or maybe it will take a couple more days,” said Lavrov.
“Secondly, we suspend the work of NATO’s military liaison in Moscow. Its employees’ accreditations will be recalled on November 1. And thirdly, we cease the work of NATO’s information bureau which was founded under Belgium’s embassy.
Earlier this month, NATO expelled eight members of Russia’s mission to the alliance who it said were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers”.
At that time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko accused NATO of duplicity and of using the idea of an alleged threat from Moscow as a bogeyman.
“After the dramatic end of the Afghan era, how can they can get by without the bogeyman of the ‘Russian threat’. They can’t,” he told Russia’s Kommersant daily newspaper.
NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, but has kept channels open for high-level meetings and for military-to-military cooperation.