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NATO chief says Russia expulsions not linked to particular occasion

BRUSSELS, Oct 7 (Reuters) – The expulsion of eight members of Russia’s mission to NATO shouldn’t be linked to a specific occasion, however the alliance must be vigilant within the face of “malign” Russian exercise, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Thursday.

Stoltenberg stated the eight, whose expulsion was introduced on Wednesday, have been “undeclared Russian intelligence officers”. learn extra

“This decision is not linked to any particular event, but we have seen over some time now, an increase in Russian malign activity, and therefore we need to be vigilant,” he advised a information convention.

The actions of the eight weren’t according to their accreditations, Stoltenberg stated, additionally describing relations with Russia as at their lowest level for the reason that finish of the Cold War.

“That’s because of the Russian behaviour. We have seen their aggressive actions,” he stated, pointing to Russia’s army build-up alongside Ukraine’s border and what he stated have been violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds an online news conference after a NATO Foreign Ministers video meeting following developments in Afghanistan, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds an internet information convention after a NATO Foreign Ministers video assembly following developments in Afghanistan, on the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool through REUTERS

Stoltenberg stated NATO would proceed its “dual-track” strategy in direction of Russia of defence and dialogue.

“We are ready also to convene a NATO-Russia council meeting. We have actually invited Russia for now a long time. So far, Russia has not responded positively,” he stated.

He stated he had failed in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the UN General Assembly final month to agree on a brand new assembly of the council, which he stated was particularly vital to convene given present excessive tensions.

The Kremlin stated earlier on Thursday that the expulsions nearly fully undermined its hopes that relations may very well be normalised and dialogue with NATO resumed. learn extra

On Wednesday, a pro-Kremlin lawmaker stated Moscow would retaliate, although not essentially in type.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alex Richardson and John Stonestreet

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds an online news conference after a NATO Foreign Ministers video meeting following developments in Afghanistan, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS