18 Oct 2021 15:57

Russia suspends operations of its permanent mission to NATO - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) - Russia suspends the operations of its permanent mission to NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"In response to NATO's actions, we're suspending the operations of our permanent mission to NATO, including the work of the main military representative. Perhaps starting from November 1, or it might take a few more days," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow.

"Secondly, we're suspending the operations of the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, and the accreditations of its officers will be revoked as of November 1. Thirdly, we're terminating the operations of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, which was set up at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium," he said.

"If NATO has any urgent affairs, they might address our ambassador to Belgium on those matters. The ambassador, who is in charge of our bilateral relations," he said.

"The NATO International Secretariat has already been notified" of Russia's countermeasures, he said.

The NATO Secretariat officially notified Russia on October 6 that Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg decided to revoke accreditations of eight members of the Russian permanent mission to NATO and reduce the general number of its personnel to ten people, including administrative and housekeeping personnel, as of November 1.

"No explanations of this step have been offered. And Mr. Stoltenberg and I had met in New York several days before this decision was announced. He emphasized the North Atlantic alliance's sincere interest, as he put it, in normalizing relations with Russia to de-escalate the tension on the European continent," he said.