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Russia shutting NATO mission over spy allegations 'not a major setback', expert says

 Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday emphasized the need to strengthen the country's air defenses in the face of NATO's moves.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday emphasized the need to strengthen the country's air defenses in the face of NATO's moves. Copyright Evgeniy Paulin / AP / Sputnik
Copyright Evgeniy Paulin / AP / Sputnik
By Euronews
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow would be closed in November, following the alliance's decision to expel 8 Russian diplomats.

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Russia shutting down its NATO mission in Moscow is "not a major setback," Dr Jamie Shea, former deputy assistant Secretary-General of NATO, told Euronews.

Russia announced it would suspend diplomatic relations with NATO two weeks ago and close its mission in Moscow after the alliance expelled eight Russian diplomats on October 6.

NATO believes the Russian diplomats were secretly working as intelligence officers and halved the size of Moscow’s team able to work at its headquarters.

"I don't think it's a major setback, given that these two officers were pretty paralysed since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and NATO sort of broke off practical cooperation with Russia," Shea told Euronews.

"But NATO clearly has to look for other channels of communication with Russia now. They have to talk to Russia even while they're in an atmosphere of confrontation," he said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that NATO’s military liaison and information offices in Moscow would be closed on November 1.

Watch the full interview with former deputy assistant Secretary-General of NATO Jamie Shea in the video player above.

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