nato: Russia breaks diplomatic engagement with Nato

nato: Russia breaks diplomatic engagement with Nato

MOSCOW: Russia plans to cease its diplomatic engagement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), the Russian foreign minister said on Monday, in the latest sign of unravelling relations between Moscow and the West.
Although significant on a diplomatic level, the announcement was not apparently accompanied by any military moves by Russia threatening European security. And Moscow still maintains diplomatic relations with the individual governments in the alliance. The decision will end a post-Cold War experiment, never very successful, in building trust between Russia and the Western alliance, established decades ago to contain the Soviet Union, which officials in Moscow accused of later encroaching on former Soviet territory. By early next month, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said, Russia will halt the activities of its representative office at Nato headquarters in Brussels and withdraw diplomatic credentials from emissaries of the alliance working in Moscow.
Nato’s response was muted. “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,” a spokesperson, Oana Lungescu, said. Lavrov said the alliance was informed before his announcement. The breakoff of diplomatic ties also comes as President Joe Biden is seeking to strengthen the European alliance after former President Donald Trump denigrated members as freeloaders on US military spending.
Relations between Moscow and the West have been strained for years, but the immediate impetus for the Russian move was a spy scandal. Earlier this month, Nato ordered eight Russian diplomats to leave Belgium by November 1, saying they were undeclared intelligence officers. The alliance also reduced the size of the Russian representative office. In response, Lavrov said Russia’s entire diplomatic mission would leave by November 1. Nato could still convey diplomatic messages to Russia’s embassy in Brussels, if necessary, Lavrov said.

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