Spy Scandal Between NATO and Russia
NATO expelled eight employees of the Russian representation in the Alliance and closed 2 other positions after they were revealed as spies, Reuters reported.
Thus, the number of people that Russia can accredit in Brussels has been reduced to 10.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained that the decision was not related to a specific event, but was based on intelligence. According to him, the employees whose accreditations were revoked carried out activities in violation of the rules of the Alliance.
Stoltenberg added that the expelled were unannounced Russian intelligence officers. "Our relations with Russia are at their most critical point since the end of the Cold War. We have invited a meeting, but there has been no positive response from Moscow," he said.
"Our policy towards Russia remains consistent. We have strengthened our restraint and defense in response to Russia's aggressive actions, and at the same time we remain open to meaningful dialogue," said a NATO spokesman.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the expulsion of Russian officials, explaining that the prospects for normalizing relations and resuming dialogue with NATO were almost completely undermined. "This is an obvious contradiction between the statements of NATO representatives about their desire to normalize relations with our country," he said.
In 2018, the Alliance reduced the number of Russian representatives from 30 to 20 after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in England.
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