NATO decision to limit the access of Russian diplomats to its headquarters in Brussels reflects the persistent “Cold War” mentality among the alliance’s officials, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. NATO said Monday the access to NATO Headquarters will be denied to all representatives of the Russian Mission, except the Russian Ambassador, his Deputy Head of Mission, and two support staff. Other Russian diplomats will have to notify NATO about their planned visit to its headquarters in advance, register upon arrival and be escorted by security staff throughout their visit.
“We noted that information about the move was posted on the main page of NATO’s official website. It looks like access by Russian diplomats to the NATO office is the North Atlantic alliancea’s number one problem,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The introduction of restrictive measures against [Russian diplomats] confirms once again that the alliance is not capable of overcoming the “Cold War” mentality, preferring the language of sanctions over dialogue,” the statement reads.
Ties between Moscow and the West plunged to record lows in recent weeks surrounding disagreements over Crimea, which rejoined Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine last month.
In the ongoing diplomatic strife that followed, NATO froze all practical aspects of its military cooperation with Russia last week. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the Atlantic alliance’s moves as “Cold War-style sword swinging.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said last Thursday it has decided to recall its chief military representative to NATO, Col. Gen. Valery Evnevich, for consultations amid the standoff, RIA Novosti reports.
Russian officials have repeatedly said that Moscow was not seeking confrontation with NATO, but was ready to take all political and military measures to ensure its security.