Russia suspends NATO mission following expulsion of staff

Russia suspends NATO mission following expulsion of staff

Russia said on Monday that it will suspend its diplomatic mission to NATO after the Western military alliance expelled eight Russians in an espionage scandal.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that in exchange, employees at NATO’s military mission in Moscow will lose their accreditation from Nov. 1, and the alliance’s media office in Moscow would close.

On October 6, NATO announced that it had dismissed eight members of Russia’s delegation to the alliance who it described as “undeclared Russian intelligence agents.”

After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO halted practical collaboration with Russia, but maintained lines of communication open for high-level talks and military-to-military cooperation.

The expulsions, Moscow argued at the time, dashed prospects of normalizing relations with the US-led coalition.

Russia criticises NATO of aggressive behavior near its borders, and has lately held large-scale drills of its own.

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