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Russia is expelling two Canadian diplomats working in NATO's Information Office
Russia is expelling two Canadian diplomats working in NATO's Information Office in Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

"Canadian Ambassador to Russia Ralph Lysyshyn was summoned to Russia's Foreign Ministry, where he was informed that in response to an unfriendly act on the part of NATO regarding Russian officials in NATO headquarters, the Russian side made a forced decision to withdraw diplomatic accreditation from the director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, Canadian Embassy attache Isabelle Francois, and a second bureau official, Canadian Embassy attache Mark Opgenorth," the ministry said.

Diplomatic accreditation is required for NATO diplomats to stay in the country.

Moscow's decision follows a similar move on the part of the Western military alliance regarding two Russian diplomats at NATO headquarters in Brussels. One of the two diplomats in question is the 23-year-old son of Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's EU envoy.

Belgium said earlier that as NATO stripped the diplomats of accreditation last week, it saw no reason for them to remain in the country. Media reports said NATO's move was connected to a spying case involving an Estonian official.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier said NATO was attempting to expel the diplomats on "a far-fetched pretext" and urged all NATO member states to consider the consequences of the move.

Russia's ambassador to NATO said Wednesday that Russia's action was a proportional response to the expulsion of its two diplomats from Brussels, adding that now it was time to draw a line under the dispute.

"I believe a period should be put in the issue," Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti. "The responsibility for what happened lies exclusively with those who initiated the attempt to destroy agreements on the restoration of Russia-NATO relations."


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