NATO decided to halve Russia’s mission to the alliance, and Russian outlet Kommersant claimed that it had discovered what response measures Moscow would apply.
According to the outlet, steps will be taken in relation to the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, operating under the auspices of the Belgian embassy.
At the same time, Kommersant’s sources do not exclude that Russia will generally close its permanent mission to NATO.
The NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow was established in 2002 and operates under the auspices of the Belgian Embassy.
Its employees are endowed with diplomatic immunity. The NATO website says that the mission consists of 13 people, but this information, is apparently outdated and it only has approximately half.
The mission is designed to help expand the dialogue between the Russian Federation and NATO by ensuring interaction between the Alliance’s Military Committee in Brussels and the Russian Ministry of Defense.
In particular, this comes down to issues related to the programs of the NATO-Russia Council (RNC), and about work plans for military cooperation of the RNC. In addition, tasks include assisting the NATO Information Office in Moscow in clarifying Alliance policies, as well as helping to ensure that all NRC decisions are implemented.
Meanwhile, military cooperation between Russia and NATO was frozen back in April 2014 at the initiative of the alliance, which thus reacted to the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation. NRC meetings have also not been held for more than two years.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on October 7th that NATO members would very much like to resume meetings in the NRC format. But for this, according to him, Russia is not ready.
Moscow’s position explained by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Grushko.
According to him, Russia is not against the RNC meeting as such, but wants to “clearly understand what it will give.”
The Russian authorities have repeatedly called on NATO to resume regular military contacts, and also proposed a set of measures to de-escalate and avoid dangerous military incidents.
“But, unfortunately, there were no signs that NATO was ready to move towards our proposals and enter into a dialogue on the merits,” said Alexander Grushko. In the current situation, Moscow, according to him, sees no reason to convene the RNC.
The Russian permanent mission to NATO has received a list of diplomats deprived of their accreditation by name. The reason for such a decision was not indicated in the corresponding note.
At the same time in the British media, citing sources, there were reports that the Russians were suspected of “hostile activities”, including “espionage and murder.”
On October 7th, Jens Stoltenberg was asked to comment on this information, to which he replied: “We revoked the accreditation of eight members of the Russian mission to NATO, who were undeclared members of Russian intelligence.
This decision is not related to any specific events, but we have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now. Therefore, we must be vigilant and must act if we see that members of the Russian mission to NATO are engaged in activities that do not correspond to their diplomatic accreditation.”
Russia has not had a permanent representative to NATO since 2018. After the departure from Brussels, Alexander Grushko (now holding the post of Deputy Foreign Minister) remained in Brussels.
The post was assumed by Acting Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO Yuri Gorlach. He was then recalled back to Moscow in summer 2021 and there’s no permanent representative.
Moscow considered the idea of sending Andrei Kelin, Director of the European Cooperation Department of the Foreign Ministry, as Permanent Representative to NATO, but in the end, it was abandoned, and he went as ambassador to Great Britain.
As a result, Russia’s mission is being reduced, but it didn’t really have a permanent representative for a while, anyway. This is showing for the state of the international politics and the condition of world peace.