02:11 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Glushko

    Russian Ambassador to NATO Calls Mission Reduction 'Spy Mania'

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    Russia's Ambassador to NATO said that the only plausible explanation for the reduction of the country's mission to the organization is a case of spy mania.

    Russia is waiting for an explanation from NATO as to why the country's mission to the organization is being reduced down to 30 people from the current 37, Russia's Ambassador to the organization Alexander Grushko told Russian television.

    "We are waiting for an explanation. If NATO continues to persist with the position which they declared, it will mean for us that NATO is not counting on and not planning on resuming cooperation, even if necessary political conditions develop," Grushko told the Russia-24 television channel.

    According to Grushko, the only justification which would sound convincing to public opinion is spy mania and statements that Brussels is teeming with spies. Grushko said that he considers such statements a purely ideological provocation.

    NATO previously circulated a guideline limiting the number of staff in all 'partner delegations' to 30, citing the need to better manage relations with the expanding number of partner nations.

    Relations between the alliance and Moscow have suffered considerably when Crimeans voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia in March 2014. The following month, NATO suspended its cooperation with Russia behind accusations of its involvement in Ukraine's internal affairs.

    Moscow, in turn, has noted NATO's growing military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states along Russia's doorstep, stressing its incursion further aggravates existing tensions and undermines regional security.


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