NATO on Wednesday expelled eight members of Russia’s mission to the military alliance, saying that they were secretly working as intelligence officers and halved the size of Moscow’s team able to work at its headquarters.
“We can confirm that we have withdrawn the accreditation of eight members of the Russian Mission to NATO, who were undeclared Russian intelligence officers,” a NATO official said.
NATO also reduced the number of positions that Russia can accredit people for at the organization from 20 down to 10, the official said.
No immediate clear explanation was given for the decision, which will take effect at the end of the month.
Relations between NATO and Russia have been increasingly strained since Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The two are at odds over Russia's nuclear missile development, aerial intrusions into NATO airspace and the buzzing of allied ships by fighter planes.