Russia has said it will suspend operations as part of its mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The move comes in response to a move by the Western security alliance to expel eight members of Russia’s mission earlier this month. Relations between Russia and Western countries are at their lowest levels since the Cold War. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on October 18 that operations would be suspended from November 1 and that the NATO military delegation in Moscow would receive accreditations on the same day.
Lavrov added that NATO and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have been informed of the Russian side’s decision. According to Lavrov, if NATO has any questions about Russia, representatives of the alliance can turn to its ambassador to Belgium. He did not talk about any conditions that must be met in order to resume work in missions.
Lavrov called the actions a response to the October 6 NATO move to expel eight Russian mission staff from NATO headquarters. The total number of Russian diplomats at the embassy was halved, from 20 to 10. NATO had said at the time that the deported diplomats were Russian special services employees engaged in unfriendly activities. Relations between NATO and Russia have been strained recently and official contacts have been limited since Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
The 30-member Western Alliance is also concerned about Russia’s development of nuclear missiles, air interventions in NATO airspace, and a host of other issues.
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