Russia Suspends NATO’s Information Office in Moscow, Its Permanent Rep to NATO

Two weeks after NATO expelled eight Russian diplomats for alleged ‘undisclosed espionage’ at its Brussels headquarters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Moscow is completely suspending the operations of its mission to the Alliance and that NATO information bureau in Moscow will be forced to shut down, RFERL reports.

NATO has previously revoked the accreditation of eight employees of the Russian mission and reduced the number of accreditations for the Russian Federation to 10 in response to an alleged rise in “malign activities” by Moscow.

Reacting to NATO’s unprecedented move and striking new blow to East-West ties that are already near Cold War lows, Lavrov said that the Russian mission’s operations will be suspended as of November 1 and that the NATO Secretariat was notified of the steps taken by the Russian side.

He noted that the staff at the NATO military mission in Moscow will have their accreditation stripped on the same day as well and that if NATO has any questions for Russia, it can turn to Russian ambassador to Belgium who deals with bilateral relations.

Lavrov did not lay out any conditions for the possible resumption of work at the missions and pointed to the fact that “there are no military contact” between Russia and NATO.

The Alliance has suspended practical co-operation with Russia in 2014 Crimean Peninsula annexation, but has kept open channels for high-level meetings and for military-to-military co-operation with onlt sporadic meetings of the NATO-Russia Council since agreeing on the agenda for NRC meetings has proven a challenge.

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