April 30, 2009 / 11:27 AM / 11 years ago

Russia says NATO expulsions a "crude provocation"

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday NATO’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats was a “crude provocation.”

“A crude provocation has been made in relation to two employees of Russia’s permanent mission to NATO on an absolutely trumped up pretext without any clear explanation,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“This outrageous action fundamentally contradicts statements by NATO’s leadership on its readiness to normalise ties with Russia ... The forces behind this provocation are not interested in giving an impetus to the current trend towards improving relations,” it said.

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Myra MacDonald

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