Russia Suspends Its Mission To NATO, Foreign Minister Says

In this photo provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media on the side of the 7th World Congress of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister said Monday that the country is suspending its mission to NATO.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the move is in response to last week’s expulsion by NATO of eight members of Russia’s mission to the military alliance.

NATO said that they were secretly working as intelligence officers and halved the size of Moscow’s team able to work at its headquarters. Lavrov also announced that NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow would be closed.

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

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

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