NATO said on Wednesday that it expelled eight members of Russia’s mission for allegedly working undercover as intelligence officers in a military alliance.
“We can confirm that we have withdrawn the recognition of eight members of the Russian mission to NATO, who were undisclosed Russian intelligence officers,” said an unnamed NATO official.
NATO also said it would cut the number of positions that Russia can recognize to NATO from 20 to 10 at the end of October. The coalition did not immediately explain why the decision was made.
“NATO’s policy towards Russia remains consistent. We have strengthened our deterrence and defense in response to aggressive Russian actions, while at the same time we remain open to a fruitful dialogue,” the official said.
Senior Russian MP Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, said Moscow would retaliate, but did not give specifics, according to Interfax.
NATO-Russian relations have steadily deteriorated since Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. NATO and Russia also disagree on issues such as Russia’s nuclear missile development and air incursions into NATO airspace.
Some information for this report has been received from the Associated Press and Reuters.