NATO Clarifies Expulsions of Russians from Headquarters Over Recent Years

BERLIN – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s remarks regarding the expulsion of Russians from NATO headquarters pertain to incidents spanning recent years, not recent months, as initially reported by German daily Bild, NATO clarified on Friday.

Following a correction issued by Bild, the alliance emphasized that Stoltenberg did not specify a timeframe when discussing the expulsions during an interview with the German outlet. Instead, NATO highlighted that the Secretary General’s comments referred to measures taken over the course of recent years, not limited to recent developments.

The clarification came after Bild initially reported that Stoltenberg had referenced expulsions of Russians from NATO headquarters in recent months. However, NATO confirmed that such expulsions occurred as part of broader actions taken by the alliance over an extended period, with the suspension of Russia’s mission to NATO in October 2021 being a significant event in this context.

Stoltenberg’s interview with Bild shed light on the longstanding concerns regarding Russian intelligence operations across European countries. While acknowledging attempts to escalate such activities, Stoltenberg emphasized NATO’s vigilance in monitoring these developments closely.

In October 2021, NATO announced the expulsion of eight members of Russia’s mission to the alliance, citing them as “undeclared Russian intelligence officers.” This move underscored NATO’s commitment to safeguarding its headquarters from activities deemed incompatible with diplomatic norms, reinforcing the alliance’s stance against unauthorized intelligence operations within its premises.