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NATO to take tougher action on Russian spies, says Stoltenberg

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NATO Secretary-General Jens  Stoltenberg on Thursday said members of the defense alliance will take tougher action against Russian spies in response to Moscow’s campaign of hostile activities, including  acts of sabotage and cyberattacks.

“We have seen several examples of sabotage, of arson attempts, of cyberattacks, of disinformation,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers set to take place Thursday and Friday in Brussels. “I expect the NATO ministers to address the Russian campaign of hostile activities against NATO allies,” he said.

“We will also then work on NATO response options, which I expect will include increased awareness, exchange of information, intelligence, step up the protection of critical infrastructure, including undersea infrastructure and cyber, and also tighter restrictions on Russian intelligence personnel across the alliance,” Stoltenberg added.

The activities of Russian agents are also prompting worries and action in the EU. In  a letter sent to the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and seen by POLITICO, eight foreign ministers said Russian diplomats should be restricted from moving freely within the EU countries, amid growing accusations of Kremlin spying operations within the bloc.

“We believe the EU should strictly … restrict the movement of members of Russian diplomatic missions and their family members to [the] territory of a state of their accreditation only,” according to the letter. “This measure will significantly narrow operational space for Russian agents.”

Stuart Lau contributed reporting.

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