October 18 (NWN) – On Monday, the Russian government said it was closing its military liaison mission with NATO and withdrew staff to Moscow in response to the alliance expelling several Russians last week and accusing them of espionage.
This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a press conference in Moscow.
“In response to NATO actions, we suspend the activities of the NATO military liaison mission in Moscow and revoke the accreditation of its personnel,” Lavrov said, according to state TASS.
“If NATO has urgent questions, it can contact our Ambassador to Belgium on these issues.”
NATO said last week that it is cutting the staff of the Russian mission from 20 to 10, stripping eight Russian diplomats of accreditation and eliminating two vacant positions.
NATO said it took this step because it considered the diplomatic members to be undeclared Russian spies.
On Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Georgian Prime Minister and Defense Minister during a trip to “convince” allies and partners of “America’s commitment to their sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression.”
Austin will also visit Ukraine and Romania before stopping at NATO headquarters in Brussels.