Russia Suspends Its Mission At NATO, Shuts Alliance's Office

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By Associated Press
October 18, 2021

NATO withdrew the accreditation of 8 Russian officials, saying it believes they person been secretly moving for Russian Intelligence.

Russia connected Monday suspended its ngo astatine NATO and ordered the closure of the alliance's bureau successful Moscow successful retaliation for NATO's expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Earlier this month, NATO withdrew the accreditation of 8 Russian officials to its Brussels headquarters, saying it believes they person been secretly moving arsenic Russian quality officers. NATO besides halved the size of Moscow's squad astatine its office from 20 to 10.

Moscow has dismissed the accusations arsenic baseless. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered Moscow's effect Monday, announcing the suspension of Russia's ngo astatine NATO and the closure of the alliance's subject liaison and accusation offices successful the Russian capital.

He charged that the alliance's enactment has confirmed that "NATO isn't funny successful immoderate benignant of adjacent dialog oregon associated work," adding that "we don't spot immoderate request to support pretending that determination could beryllium immoderate displacement successful the foreseeable future."

Lavrov added that contacts betwixt the Western subject confederation and Russia could beryllium maintained done the Russian Embassy successful Belgium.

"As a effect of NATO's deliberate moves, we person practically nary conditions for simple diplomatic enactment and successful effect to NATO's actions we suspend the enactment of our imperishable ngo to NATO, including the enactment of the main subject envoy, astir apt from Nov. 1. Or it whitethorn instrumentality respective much days," Lavrov said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said successful a abstracted connection that NATO's actions "confirm that they are not funny successful an adjacent dialog and associated enactment to deescalate military-political tensions."

"The alliance's enactment towards our state is becoming much and much aggressive," the ministry noted. "The 'Russian threat' is inflated successful bid to fortify the interior unity of the alliance, to make the quality of its 'relevance' successful modern geopolitical conditions."

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said the confederation has taken enactment of Lavrov's statement, but added it hasn't yet received an authoritative announcement from Moscow.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said successful Luxembourg that "this determination taken successful Moscow volition further prolong the hard concern we're in, this frosty play that's been going connected for immoderate time," adding that "this volition enactment a further superior strain connected relations."

"Germany has repeatedly pushed for dialog with Russia wrong NATO implicit the past years," Maas noted. "We person to admit erstwhile more, that Russia seemingly nary longer is. That is much than regrettable."

The Russian ngo isn't based astatine NATO's headquarters, but successful a leafy vicinity successful the southbound of the Belgian capital, Brussels.

NATO suspended applicable practice with Russia successful 2014 aft it annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, but has kept channels unfastened for high-level meetings and for military-to-military cooperation. But the NATO-Russia Council, their preferred forum, has lone met sporadically since then.

Amid a strain successful ties, Moscow has repeatedly voiced concerns implicit the deployment of NATO forces adjacent Russian borders, describing it arsenic a menace to its security. Russia and the confederation besides person blamed each different for conducting destabilizing subject exercises adjacent the borders.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.