Russia closes NATO mission in row over spying allegations



​The Kremlin suspended its mission at NATO on Monday, in retaliation for the Western alliance expelling eight Russian diplomats over spying allegations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow will be closed.

“If NATO members have any urgent matters, they can contact our ambassador in Belgium on these questions,” Lavrov said.

He went on to say that NATO “isn’t interested in any kind of equal dialogue or joint work” and doesn’t expect that to change in the “foreseeable future.”

“As a result of NATO’s deliberate moves, we have practically no conditions for elementary diplomatic work and in response to NATO’s actions we suspend the work of our permanent mission to NATO, including the work of the chief military envoy, probably from Nov. 1. Or it may take several more days,” Lavrov said.

Earlier this month, NATO booted eight members of the Russian mission in Brussels that it alleges were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks on the side of the meeting dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the House of Russian Diaspora named after Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the move is in response to last week’s expulsion by NATO of eight members of Russia’s mission to the military alliance.
Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Russia ​is ​no longer ​interested in talking to the West.

“It’s more than just regrettable​,​ this decision taken in Moscow,” he said. “It will seriously damage the relationship.”

Ties between NATO and Russia have been tense since Moscow illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. ​

Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of NATO headquarters during the move there, in Brussels, Belgium April 19, 2018.
NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow will be closed.
REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

NATO condemned Russia’s actions and demanded the Kremlin return the territory. 

“There can be no return to ​’​business as usual​’​ until there is a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions that demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities​,” NATO said in a statement in 2019, marking the fifth anniversary of the annexation.

With Post wires


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