Published: Tue, March 27, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation cuts Russian permanent mission by one third

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation cuts Russian permanent mission by one third

In addition to the expulsion of seven Russian diplomats, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has withdrawn three pending accreditation requests and has reduced the overall size of the Russian mission to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation from 30 to 20.

Stoltenberg said he would also deny the pending accreditation request for three other Russian diplomats.

"This will send a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for their unacceptable pattern of behaviour".

Mattis' statement comes after NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg earlier in the day announced sanctions against Russian Federation in connection to the poisoning of Skripals, which has been blamed on Moscow.

Presenting unfounded charges against Russian Federation in the absence of explanations of what happened and refusing to engage in meaningful interaction, the British authorities have de facto adopted a prejudiced, biased as well as hypocritical stance.

Still, the former Norwegian prime minister said this "does not change NATO's policy towards Russia" and reiterated his commitment to a "dual-track approach of strong defense and openness to dialogue".

On March 26, more than 20 countries announced their intention to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain because of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Skripal, who was freed from Russian custody in 2010 in a "spy swap" with the USA, was found almost comatose on a bench, as was his daughter Yulia.

The USA will expel the largest number of Russian diplomats - 60 people in total.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Russia "strongly protests" diplomats expulsion by the United States and 14 European countries over the ex-spy case, vowing to retaliate.

Following the end of the Cold War, NATO sought closer ties with Russia and included Russian personnel in its campaign in the Balkans in the 1990s.

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