Russia closing Nato office in tit for tat move following ‘spy’ expulsion

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Russia has announced that it is closing its office in NATO in response to the first expulsion of eight of its diplomats for alleged espionage.

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Confirming the move on Monday, Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov said the move changed little in Moscow’s already cold ties with the Western coalition.

“We don’t have much need to pretend that changes are possible in the near future, because NATO has made it clear that such changes are impossible,” he said.

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The veteran diplomat confirmed that the representative office at NATO headquarters will close its doors on November 1 – the same day that Russia would require NATO to shut down its military mission and information bureau in Moscow.

Any urgent business with Russia will now be done through its embassy in Brussels, Mr. Lavrov said.

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Military cooperation between Russia and NATO has been largely frozen since April 2014, when NATO ended joint operations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine following Russian military action.

Talking more normally is on hold. The NATO-Russia Council, established at a high point in 2002 when talks of Russia joining the Western Alliance, has not met in two years.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he wanted the council to meet again. Russia has said such an effort makes no sense – especially in light of the October 8 blasts.

Commenting on Russia’s decision to react so abruptly, former Russian diplomat Vladimir Frolov said it was little more than “feeling good”.

It turned a little on the ground, she said; Communications were now so sparse that they could be handled by “a man with a cell phone” at the embassy.

“It’s back in the USSR in terms of diplomatic currency,” said Mr. Frolov.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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