NATO Axes Cooperation With Russia

'Complete combat force' still at border
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2014 3:38 AM CDT
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers yesterday.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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(Newser) – Russia can't expect "business as usual" after its annexation of Crimea, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after a meeting, announcing that the alliance is "suspending all practical cooperation with Russia, military and civilian." After the first meeting of the 28-member alliance since the crisis began, ministers ordered commanders to make plans to beef up defenses and reassure Eastern European members that NATO is ready to protect them, Reuters reports.

NATO jets will take part in air patrols in the region and Rasmussen says the alliance will stand by Ukraine, offering it greater access to military exercises, the BBC reports. "Russia's aggression against Ukraine challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace," he warned. Russia—which hiked the price of gas it sells to Ukraine by 40% yesterday—still has around 40,000 troops in place near the border, a military official tells the AP, describing the buildup as a highly threatening "complete combat force."

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