Nato has expelled eight “undeclared intelligence officers” from the Russian delegation to the military alliance, and halved the total size of Moscow’s representation, in a move that will further deteriorate relations between western militaries and the Kremlin, the Financial Times reports.
NATO expels eight Russian diplomats for 'spying'
STEPANAKERT, OCTOBER 7, ARTSAKHPRESS: The decision will reduce the maximum size of the Russian delegation to Nato headquarters in Brussels to just 10 diplomats, further eroding a communication channel designed to promote dialogue and confidence-building between Russia’s armed forces and the western alliance.
“We have withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of the Russian mission to Nato, who were undeclared Russian intelligence officers,” a Nato official said in a statement. Two other accreditations, currently vacant, will be withdrawn. The decision will come into effect at the end of the month.
“We have strengthened our deterrence and defence in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, while at the same time we remain open for a meaningful dialogue,” the official added.
But Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said the move implied recent Nato member states’ comments in favour of de-escalation of tension with Russia and re-establishing a bilateral dialogue were a bluff. “If anyone believed those statements were sincere, then today nobody does. Everyone understands their real goal,” he told Russian newspaper Kommersant.