NATO has decided to double the leadership of the Russian mission in the organization – to expel eight diplomats and abolish two more positions. According to Sky News, the cause was “alleged hostile activity.” At the end of March 2018, NATO expelled seven members of the Russian mission and is refusing accreditation for three more.
Deborah Haynes, editor of Sky News, was the first to announce the revocation of accreditation from eight Russian diplomats.
“NATO has decided to cut in half Russia’s mission to the alliance in response to alleged hostile activities by Russia, including assassination and espionage. …
Now the number of the Russian permanent mission to NATO in Brussels is 20 people.
Later, NATO representatives confirmed to TASS and RIA Novosti that eight employees of the permanent mission were stripped of their accreditation.
“We confirm that we confirm that we have reduced accreditation with NATO available to the Russian Federation to ten,” a source in the alliance quoted RIA Novosti.
“NATO decides to reduce the accreditation of 10 Russian diplomats,” the NATO press service briefly replied to TASS.
Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO declined to comment on reports of the expulsion of diplomats. “There will be no comments from our side,” a representative of the Russian mission told TASS.
This step came as a surprise to Moscow, writes Kommersant. “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the end of September met with the NATO Secretary General in New York on the sidelines of the UN session, but there representatives of the Alliance did not warn about anything like that,” the source said.
Sources of Kommersant said that Moscow will definitely give an answer to NATO’s actions, but were not ready to specify which one.
Russia and NATO
The Russian diplomatic mission to NATO was established in 1998. In May 2002, the Russia-NATO Council was established. With the participation of these bodies, several agreements on military-technical cooperation and joint exercises were signed.
Relations with the alliance began to produce bad relations in August 2008 in Georgia – then the activities of the Russia-NATO council were suspended, but later resumed.
In March 2014, relations with NATO deteriorated again after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The alliance curtailed all forms of civil and military cooperation with Russia in September 2014. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Russia was not invited to a NATO summit. The number of the permanent mission of Russia to the alliance began to decline sharply.
In 2018, the next permanent representative of Russia to NATO, Alexander Grushko, was relieved of his post, since then the place of the representative remains vacant due to the termination of cooperation between the alliance and Russia.
At the end of March 2018, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the expulsion of seven members of the Russian mission to NATO and the denial of accreditation for three more. Prior to that, more than 20 countries announced the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats as a sign of solidarity with Britain in the case of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.