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russian The foreign minister said on Monday that the country was suspending its mission in NATO.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the move was in response to NATO’s expulsion of eight members of Russia’s mission to the military alliance last week.

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NATO said they were acting undercover as intelligence officers and halved the size of Moscow’s team capable of operating at its headquarters. Lavrov also announced that NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow would remain closed.

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“As a result of NATO’s deliberate actions, we have practically no prerequisites for primary diplomatic work and in response to NATO actions, we will suspend the work of our Permanent Mission to NATO, including the work of the Chief Military Envoy, perhaps on 1 November.” or it may take several more days,” Lavrov said.

He also said that contact between the Western Alliance and Moscow could be done through the Russian embassy in Belgium.

The Russian mission is not based at NATO’s headquarters, but in a leafy neighborhood south of the Belgian capital, Brussels.

NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia after Ukraine’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, but has kept channels open for high-level meetings and military-to-military cooperation. But the NATO-Russia Council, his preferred forum, has since met only sporadically.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the heads of intelligence services of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries via teleconference in Moscow on October 13.

Russia and NATO have also been at odds over Moscow’s nuclear missile development, air incursions into NATO airspace and the buzzing of Allied ships by fighter jets.

Official interactions between them have been limited in recent years.