Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said NATO has no evidence indicating the expelled staffers of Russia’s diplomatic mission at the organization had been involved in any malign activities.
“We should be aware that NATO has systematically ruined relations with Russia to opt for the Cold War logic. Also, we should remember that the role of NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in this destructive process is significant. And lastly, we should keep in mind that there is no evidence against the activity of the Russians NATO has expelled,” Zakharova wrote in her Telegram-channel in reply to Stoltenberg’s statements about the reason for the expulsion of Russian diplomats.
NATO’s secretary general, she remarked, should ask himself how many representatives of the organization’s member-countries disguised as diplomats and journalists are involved in spying activities around the world.
“If you find this impermissible, then please recall NATO countries’ intelligence operatives from Russia,” she concluded.
On October 6, NATO said it was reducing Russia’s mission at the organization from 20 staffers to 10. The accreditation of eight diplomats was revoked and two vacancies abolished. The alliance asked the Russian diplomats to leave Brussels by the end of October. On March 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was suspending the operation of its mission to NATO altogether. Also, the activity of NATO’s Military Liaison Mission and Information Office in Moscow will be paused.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s remarks on the alliance’s openness to dialogue with Russia are not backed up in practice and make no sense, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.
“We’ve heard another remark by Mr. Stoltenberg on supposed willingness to discuss security matters with Russia. There’s nothing behind these remarks in practical terms, and it seems to me, in principle, that they don’t make much sense,” Zakharova said at a press briefing on Thursday.
NATO is expelling Russian diplomats and is saying at the same time that it wishes to talk to Moscow, while the Russian diplomats “were accredited with NATO exactly in order to maintain such dialogue,” she said.
“We just can’t take seriously everything we hear, not only from NATO as a bloc, but also from the secretary of this organization,” Zakharova said.