On October 6, 2021, the NATO Secretariat officially announced NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s decision to withdraw the accreditation of eight members of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO on November 1, 2021, as well as to reduce the overall number of mission personnel to 10. No reason for this decision has been provided.
The membership of our Permanent Mission in Brussels has unilaterally been reduced twice before, in 2015 and 2018, after the decision taken by the alliance on April 1, 2014, to suspend nearly all forms of civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO. Our diplomats’ access to the bloc headquarters and their ties with the International Secretariat have reduced dramatically. Military contacts have also been suspended.
These NATO actions have shown that the bloc is not interested in an equal dialogue or joint efforts to defuse military-political tension. Its policy towards Russia is becoming increasingly more aggressive. The myth about the alleged “Russian threat” is being promoted, in part, to strengthen the bloc’s internal affinity and to make it look important in the current geopolitical circumstances.
In response to these unfriendly actions, the Russian side has adopted the following decisions:
- In the absence of the necessary conditions for conducting diplomatic activities, due to NATO’s deliberate steps, the functioning of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, including its chief military representative, shall be suspended;
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Belgium shall be authorised to maintain emergency ties with the bloc’s headquarters. The ambassador of one of the NATO member states in Moscow, to be chosen at the bloc’s discretion, could perform similar functions.
- The activities of the NATO Military Liaison Mission Moscow shall be suspended. The accreditation of its employees shall be withdrawn on November 1, 2021;
- The NATO Information Office at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Moscow shall be closed down.
The NATO International Secretariat is officially notified of this decision by the Russian side.