Nato expels eight Russians

Published October 7, 2021
Banners displaying the Nato logo are placed at the entrance of new Nato headquarters during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium, April 19, 2018. — Reuters/File
Banners displaying the Nato logo are placed at the entrance of new Nato headquarters during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium, April 19, 2018. — Reuters/File

BRUSSELS: The North Atlantic Treaty Organis­ation on Wednesday expe­lled eight members of Russia’s mission to the alliance who were “undeclared intelligence officers”, the latest deterioration in East-West ties that are already at post-Cold War lows.

A Nato official said Moscow’s mission to the alliance headquarters in Brussels would be halved “in response to suspected malign Russian activities, including killings and espionage”.

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow would make a response at an ‘appropriate time”.

The West’s ties with Russia remain strained over everything from Ukraine to alleged Russian election meddling to the 2018 poisoning with a nerve agent in England of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The Interfax news agency cited Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, as saying that Moscow would retaliate, but not necessarily in kind.

“We can confirm that we have withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of the Russian mission to Nato, who were undeclared Russ­ian intelligence officers,” the Nato official said, adding that the number of positions Moscow can accredit to Nato had been cut to 10.

“Nato’s policy towards Russia remains consistent. 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.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021

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