Russia shuts mission to Nato in spy row

Nato said on Oct 6 it had expelled eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance.
Nato said on Oct 6 it had expelled eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia said on Monday (Oct 18) it would halt the activities of its diplomatic mission to Nato after the alliance expelled eight Russians in a row over spying.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that in return, staff at Nato's military mission in Moscow would be stripped of their accreditation from Nov 1, Russian news agencies reported.

"If Nato members have any urgent matters, they can contact our ambassador in Belgium on these questions," TASS news agency quoted Mr Lavrov as saying.

Nato said on Oct 6 that it had expelled eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance who it said were "undeclared Russian intelligence officers".

The dispute marks the latest deterioration in East-West ties that are already at post-Cold War lows.

Russia accuses Nato of provocative activity close to its borders, and recently staged major exercises of its own.

The alliance says it is determined to reinforce the security of member states close to Russia following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and backing for separatists in eastern Ukraine.