Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Picture: REUTERS
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Picture: REUTERS

Russia cut almost all remaining ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) on Monday in retaliation for the Western military bloc’s expulsion of eight of its diplomats earlier in October, the latest sign of simmering tension between the former Cold War foes.

The military alliance on October 6 ordered out eight diplomats from Russia’s representation to Nato for allegedly engaging in espionage. Russia said the allegations were groundless.

Russia’s move to suspend the operations of its permanent mission to Nato and the closure of the alliance’s mission and information office in Moscow is a response to the latest, as well as previous, “unfriendly actions”, the foreign ministry said in a website statement.

The move was announced on Monday by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.  “Following certain measures taken by Nato, the basic conditions for common work no longer exist,” Lavrov said in Moscow.

Nato suspended practical co-operation with Russia after its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula but kept open some lines of communication. 

The two sides have been increasingly at odds over Russia’s nuclear rearmament, buzzing of Nato airspace by Russian aircraft  and naval stand-offs.  

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