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Russia suspends NATO mission in retaliation for expelled diplomats

The Kremlin made the move after the alliance this month expelled eight Russian diplomats that it said were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.”
Meeting of CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Minsk
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Minsk, Belarus, last week.TASS

Russia will suspend the activities of its mission to NATO starting next month in response to the alliance’s expulsion of eight Russians, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

Lavrov said staff at NATO’s military mission in Moscow would be stripped of their accreditation from Nov. 1, and that NATO could interact with Russia via its embassy in Brussels if needed, Russian news agencies reported.

NATO this month expelled eight members of Russia’s mission to the alliance who it said were “undeclared Russian intelligence officers."

The dispute marks the latest deterioration in East-West ties that are already at post-Cold War lows.

Russia accuses NATO of provocative activity close to its borders, and recently staged major exercises of its own.

The alliance says it is determined to reinforce the security of member states close to Russia following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and backing for separatists in eastern Ukraine.