Russia has suspended the work of its permanent mission to NATO since the beginning of November after the decision of the North Atlantic Alliance to revoke the accreditation of eight employees of the Russian permanent mission.
This was announced on Monday at a press conference by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, answering a TASS question.
The activities of the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow will also be suspended, and the accreditation of its employees will be revoked from November 1. Lavrov pointed out that Moscow announced these steps to NATO on October 18 literally.
“The NATO International Secretariat has already been notified. The statement of our ministry should be circulated literally at this moment,” Lavrov said. his permanent mission to NATO, including the work of the chief military representative, probably from November 1, or maybe it will take a few more days, “he said.
The Russian Foreign Minister recalled that on October 6, the NATO Secretariat officially notified that Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg decided to revoke the accreditation of eight employees of the Russian permanent mission to the organization from November 1, and also decided to reduce the total number of its members from November 1 up to ten people, including administrative and technical personnel.
“No explanation of the reasons for such a step has been made. And a few days before the announcement of this decision, we met with Mr. Stoltenberg in New York, he in every possible way emphasized the sincere, as he said, interest of the North Atlantic Alliance in normalizing relations with the Russian Federation in the interests of de-escalating tensions in Europe. continent, “Lavrov stressed.
In addition, the activity of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, which was established at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, is terminated. “If NATO members have any urgent matters, they can turn to our ambassador to Belgium on these issues,” the minister added.
Russia was not surprised
At the same time, according to him, Moscow, “in general, was not particularly surprised” by this step of the alliance, since the number of the Russian permanent mission has already been reduced twice at the insistence of NATO – in 2015 and in 2018.
“Since 2014, NATO has reduced any contacts with our mission to the limit, announced the complete cessation of practical cooperation both in civilian areas and through the military. There are no contacts at all through the military. As I said, [NATO] has introduced, in fact, a prohibitive regime for our diplomats with regard to visiting NATO headquarters, and contacts without a visit are impossible to maintain, and, in fact, a prohibitive regime for elementary communication with the International Secretariat of the North Atlantic Alliance, “he added.
Lavrov stressed that all this confirms that “NATO is not interested in any equal dialogue, in any joint work.” “If this is so, then, of course, we do not see a great need to continue pretending that some changes are possible in the foreseeable future, because NATO has, in fact, declared the impossibility of such changes,” noted the head of the Foreign Ministry.