Breaking: NATO ‘suspends cooperation with Russia’ (whatever that means)

Breaking: NATO ‘suspends cooperation with Russia’ (whatever that means)

[Ed. – Don’t try to identify concrete action in all this.  It seems to be more that NATO has officially decided to study potential possibilities.  Is there a strongly-worded letter in the offing?  Snark tweet from Russian official to follow.]

NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia on Tuesday in protest at its annexation of Crimea, and ordered military planners to draft measures to strengthen its defences and reassure nervous Eastern European countries.

Foreign ministers from the 28-nation, U.S.-led alliance were meeting for the first time since the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region touched off the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia’s actions meant there could be no “business as usual”.

“So today, we are suspending all practical cooperation with Russia, military and civilian,” he told a news conference.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said NATO’s future relationship with Russia would depend, among other things, on whether Russia started withdrawing troops from the Ukrainian border.

Ministers also ordered military commanders to draw up plansfor reinforcing NATO’s defences to shore up confidence among the
alliance’s Eastern European members, including former Sovietrepublics in the Baltics, that NATO is ready to defend them. …

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said NATO’s preference was for a de-escalation and diplomatic route out of the crisis.

“At the same time, it is important for everybody in the world to understand the NATO alliance takes seriously this attempt to change borders by use of force,” he said.

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