MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. An envoy from a NATO member state in Moscow may maintain urgent contacts with the Russian side on the bloc’s behalf, following Russia’s tit-for-tat response to the alliance’s decision to withdraw the accreditation of eight Russian diplomats, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said in a statement on Monday.
"Russia’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in the Kingdom of Belgium will be authorized to maintain urgent contacts with the alliance’s headquarters. At the alliance’s discretion, an ambassador from a NATO country in Moscow may perform similar functions," the statement reads.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Monday in response to a question from TASS that the work of the NATO information office in Moscow would be terminated in response to the alliance’s decision to expel Russian diplomats.
In its response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s unfriendly moves, Russia will also suspend the NATO military liaison mission in Moscow and yank the accreditation of its staff from November 1, Russia’s top diplomat said.
The Russian side will also suspend the work of its mission at the alliance in Brussels beginning from November.
As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out, NATO has unilaterally cut the staff of the Russian diplomatic mission in Brussels already twice, in 2015 and 2018.
"It also restricted the access of our diplomats as much as possible to the alliance’s headquarters and contacts with its international secretariat. Military contacts have been frozen," the Russian diplomatic agency said.
"NATO’s moves confirm that the alliance is not interested in an equitable dialogue, or in joint work on de-escalating the military and political strife. The alliance’s policy line towards our country is becoming increasingly aggressive. What they call the Russian threat is being whipped up, in particular, for the purpose of ginning up the alliance’s internal unity and depicting the appearance of a necessity for this bloc under the present-day geo-political conditions," Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated.
NATO announced on October 6 that it had cut the staff of the Russian mission at the alliance from 20 to 10 members, revoking the accreditation of eight diplomats and abolishing two vacant positions. The North Atlantic alliance told the Russian diplomats to leave Brussels by late October.