Relations between NATO and Moscow continue to be strained at the highest level with Russia’s Foreign Minister now saying he will not attend a joint council meeting later this month.Sergei Lavrov has dropped out of the scheduled talks mainly in response to NATO’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats. Newspaper reports claim one of those to go is the son of Moscow’s ambassador to the European Union. The other is said to be attached to Russia’s mission in NATO. A recent spy scandal has soured attempts at a gradual restoration in contacts between the two sides. Last February, Estonia- which joined NATO in 2004- jailed one of its officials, Herman Simm, for treason. He was accused of spying for Moscow. Over a period of 12 years Simm had access to NATO intelligence. Although the two expelled Russian diplomats were not thought to be directly involved in the Estonian spy affair, NATO sources say its security has been damaged and a tough response was required.