NATO asks 8 Russian delegates to step down

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The week began when NATO informed the 20-person observer delegation to NATO that eight of them have been identified as intelligence officers and were expelled from their NATO post as observers with a departure no later than the end of October. In addition, the two empty places in the Russian delegation do not need to be filled, as the expulsion order also ordered Russia to reduce the size of its contingent from 20 to 10.

According to VOAA NATO official said on Wednesday: “We have reduced the number of positions the Russian Federation can accredit to NATO to 10,” from 20 previously. The official described the targeted diplomats as “undeclared Russian intelligence agents.” We have stepped up our deterrence and defense in response to aggressive Russian actions, while remaining open to constructive dialogue, ”he added.

Not the first rodeo for Russia

In 2018, NATO, in response to the poisoning of Russian intelligence in Salisbury, UK, ordered the Russian mission to NATO to be reduced from 30 to 20. This week’s PNG action, According to British SkyNews, has been linked to Russian involvement in the explosion at the Vrbetice Armory, which was allegedly carried out by Russian Military Intelligence Unit 29155 (GRU) in an act of sabotage. The sabotage resulted in the destruction of tons of ammunition and the death of Czech citizens. At that time, the Czech government called for solidarity and support from NATO members, which resulted in the expulsion of many Russians and their return to Moscow among NATO members.

The action taken this week follows a meeting of NATO members who agreed to the action which included reducing the Russian presence in NATO. This action is part of an evolving strategy that has emerged in recent years according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The June 10 report highlights the use of PNG by NATO members as a political tool, effectively replacing the silent PNGs of yesteryear, used only when an intelligence officer under diplomatic cover has been found hand in hand. bottom of the proverbial cookie jar.

CSIS observed that there are three trends that serve to “explain the increase in Russian diplomatic expulsions:

  1. The seriousness of Russia’s behavior and violations of international law
  2. Changes in the national political environment of several NATO members
  3. The need to identify other means of imposing costs (in addition to sanctions) on Russia, unless military action is taken.

CSIS goes on to say that “deportations appear to be a cheaper and less risky option, although there are costs to closing diplomatic channels and limiting diplomatic services, such as consular affairs.” The report explains how it appears that “Russia’s actions are turning against it,” as evidenced by NATO’s increased solidarity.


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