NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference during a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, 2021.
Olivier Hoslet/Getty Images
NATO expelled eight „undeclared” Russian intelligence officers on Wednesday.
NATO also halved the size of Russia’s mission to the defensive alliance.
This comes amid historic tensions between Russia and the West.
See more stories on Insider’s business page.
NATO on Wednesday expelled eight „undeclared” Russian intelligence officers from Moscow’s mission to the defensive alliance in Brussels.
„We can confirm that we have withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of the Russian Mission to NATO, who were undeclared Russian intelligence officers,” a NATO official said, per the Associated Press.
„NATO’s policy towards Russia remains consistent. We have strengthened our deterrence and defense in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, while at the same time we remain open for a meaningful dialogue,” the official added.
NATO is also reducing the size of Russia’s mission from 20 to 10, the Associated Press reported.
The Russian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
The expulsion of the eight Russians comes at a time of increased tensions between Moscow and the West, which can largely be traced back to Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Earlier this year, the buildup of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border sparked fears of an invasion and exacerbated the contentious dynamic between Moscow and NATO. Russia ultimately withdrew the troops, after President Vladimir Putin warned that anyone who threatens Russia’s security will „regret” it.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited President Joe Biden in Washington on Monday.
-Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) October 4, 2021
Biden and the NATO chief „discussed the international security environment and NATO’s ongoing efforts to safeguard Transatlantic defense,” the White House said in a readout on the meeting.
„Biden reaffirmed his strong support for NATO and the importance of bolstering deterrence and defense against strategic competitors and transnational threats,” the readout went on to say.