07:29 GMT +314 November 2019
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    A picture taken on March 2, 2014 shows the NATO flag in the wind at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

    NATO Initiates Hotline With Moscow, But Sends Russian Diplomats Out

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    NATO set up a hotline with the Kremlin and Russia’s Defense Ministry in Moscow in order to avoid "misunderstandings", yet at the same time has begun removing Russian diplomats from the NATO headquarters.

    NATO has started to remove Russian diplomats, accredited as Russia’s permanent representatives, from NATO’s headquarters, a move concerning dozens of Russian diplomats, German n-tv.de reported.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tried to downplay the measure, saying that the personnel ceiling for diplomatic missions of non-member countries was lowered to up to 30 in April 2015. The decision was not directed against a specific delegation or against a particular country, he said, but had to admit that only Russia has been affected by this initiative.

    Stoltenberg also pointed out that NATO decided to stop practical cooperation with Russia. Since 2014, the work of the NATO-Russia Council has been suspended.

    At the same time he emphasized that NATO wants to keep open the channels for political and military dialogue with Russia to avoid "misunderstandings". The US has set up a hotline between Moscow and Washington resembling a famous communications channel between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.

    Related:

    NATO Welcomes Contact Between Member States, Russia - Stoltenberg
    NATO, Russia Need 'Hot Line' on Military Activities - Steinmeier
    Tags:
    NATO, hotline, diplomats, Europe, Russia, United States
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