Russia withdraws diplomatic mission to NATO - closes alliance office in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is halting the activities of its diplomatic mission to NATO after the Western military alliance expelled eight Russians saying they were spies, Reuters reports.

He also said staff at NATO's military mission in Moscow would be stripped of their accreditation from November 1st, and the alliance's information office in the Russian capital would be shuttered.

"If NATO members have any urgent matters, they can contact our ambassador in Belgium on these questions," Lavrov told a news conference.

NATO said on October 6th it had expelled eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance who it said were "undeclared Russian intelligence officers".

Moscow said at the time that the expulsions undermined hopes that relations with the U.S.-led alliance could normalise.

"NATO is not interested in equitable dialogue and joint work," Lavrov said on Monday, announcing the closure of the Russian mission. "If that's the case, then we don't see the need to keep pretending that changes in the foreseeable future are possible."

NATO said on Monday it had taken note of Lavrov's comments but had received no official communication on the issues raised.



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