NATO Expels Russian Diplomats over Spy ScandalWorld | April 30, 2009, Thursday // 15:34| views
Two Russian diplomats have been expelled by NATO over the Herman Simm (above) spy scandal. Photo by novosti.etv24.ee
Russia has confirmed NATO has expelled two of its diplomats from Brussels, reportedly in retaliation for a spy scandal involving an Estonian official.
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the expulsions as "outrageous" and a "crude provocation", the BBC reported.
NATO diplomats claimed the Russians were undercover intelligence agents.
The official, Herman Simm, was jailed for 12 years in February by an Estonian court for passing NATO defense and diplomatic secrets to Moscow.
The court where the former head of Estonia's national security system was tried did not reveal which country he spied for, but investigators said Simm passed nearly 3 000 documents to Russia.
They said he received USD 110 000 for the data. The Kremlin denied any involvement.
NATO made no comment at the time, but the case, Estonia's biggest spy scandal since the Cold War, was seen as an embarrassment for the former Soviet state, which joined the alliance in 2004.
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