NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference, at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 4, 2024.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference, at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 4, 2024. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool/ File photo

NATO corrects reports on timing of Russian expulsions

Comments by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about expulsions of Russians from NATO headquarters referred to incidents from recent years, not recent months

BERLIN (Reuters) - Comments by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about expulsions of Russians from NATO headquarters referred to incidents from recent years, not recent months, as originally reported by German daily Bild, the alliance said on Friday.

Bild also issued a correction to its report, clarifying that Stoltenberg had not mentioned a timeframe when talking about the expulsions in an interview with the German outlet.

"Russia suspended its mission to NATO in October 2021. In an interview with Bild this week, the Secretary General referred to steps taken over recent years," a NATO official said.

In the interview, Stoltenberg said: "We have seen that Russian intelligence services have operated across European countries for many years. We’re also seeing attempts to step up their activities but of course, NATO allies are monitoring, following this very closely."

He said NATO "expelled, for instance, Russian personnel from NATO headquarters because we realized that they were carrying out activities that were not actually diplomatic work, but intelligence work."

In October 2021, NATO said it had expelled eight members of Russia's mission to the alliance who were "undeclared Russian intelligence officers".

(Writing by Friederike Heine and Andrew Gray, Editing by Andrey Sychev and Nick Macfie)

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