Brussels, April 1 (Reuters): Nato suspended all practical cooperation with Russia today in protest over 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, US-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.
They agreed to “suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Nato and Russia”.
Nato officials said the decision could affect cooperation with Russia on Afghanistan in areas such as training counter-narcotics personnel, maintenance of Afghan air force helicopters and a transit route out of the war-torn country.
Contacts between Nato and Russia at ambassadorial level or higher can continue so they can discuss ways out of the crisis.
Calling Russia’s actions in Ukraine unacceptable, Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “Through its actions, Russia has undermined the principles on which our partnership is built, and has breached its own international commitments. So we cannot go on doing business as usual.”