BRUSSELS, October 18. /TASS/. NATO has taken into account Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks on the mutual suspension of diplomatic missions in Brussels and Moscow, but it has not received any official notifications from Russia yet.
"We have taken note of Minister Lavrov’s comments to the media, however, we have not received any official communication on the issues he raised," the NATO Press Office said in response to TASS’ request to comment on Lavrov’s statement on the suspension of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO in Brussels, the NATO Information Office in Moscow and the NATO Military Liaison Mission Moscow starting on November 1.
The Russian Embassy in Belgium which, according to the Foreign Minister, will be tasked with all communication with NATO, refrained from commenting.
"All necessary statements have already been voiced by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko today," the Embassy said.
On Monday, Lavrov said at a press conference that Russia decided to suspend its Permanent Mission to NATO in response to the withdrawal of accreditation of eight mission employees.
According to the Minister, NATO representatives will be able to contact the Russian Ambassador to Brussels, should they have "any emergency business." The Minister underscored that Russia no longer sees the need to "keep pretending that any changes [in relations with NATO] are possible in the foreseeable future."
He explained that this step came in response to NATO’s decision to cut the Russian mission staff from 20 to 10 people: eight diplomats had their accreditation withdrawn, while 2 vacant positions were eliminated. The Russian citizens were instructed to leave Brussels before the end of October.
NATO claimed that the expelled diplomats are allegedly undeclared intelligence officers. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said later that this decision was not motivated by "any particular event."