Belgium has officially expelled two Russian diplomats to NATO and stripped them of their accreditation, reports RIA-Novosti.
The Belgium Ministry of Internal Affairs officially decided to expel the two diplomats who were earlier stripped of their accreditation by NATO
“We have formally informed the Russian delegation that this accreditation is no longer valid, and thus there are no grounds for them to carry out their diplomatic functions in Belgium,” said Belgium Foregin Ministry spokeswoman Delphnie Colard.
The two envoys lost their diplomatic status to NATO when the alliance said they had been working as undercover agents.
The first announcement about the possible expulsion came on 29 April, immediately after the first meeting between Russia and NATO since relations had ceased during the conflict in South Ossetia.
Russia’s EU representative responds
One of the two envoys is the son of the Russian representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, who was outraged by the decision.
“It is a flagrant and outrageous provocation, which makes me indignant and disgusted. I am sure its initiators were well aware what this staff was in fact doing, including my son. And if they were not, they are bold professionals,” said Chizhov.
“Apparently, those who initiated it wanted to damage Russia-NATO relations, which were driven into a deadlock in the second half of last year through no fault of ours. If they hoped this would damage me in some way or another, they miscalculated.”
Chizhov indicated that he remained confident that this latest event would not affect his work at the EU.
“I am sure that this incident will in no way influence the general tone of my work as Russian representative to the European Union," he said.