April 2, 2014
NATO has announced that it is suspending all military and civilian
cooperation with Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, the bloc said in a
“We have decided to suspend all practical civilian and military
cooperation between NATO and Russia. Our political dialogue in the
NATO-Russia Council can continue, as necessary, at the Ambassadorial
level and above, to allow us to exchange views, first and foremost on
this crisis,” the statement reads. The alliance plans to review its relations with Russia at a meeting in June.
The decision could affect cooperation 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. Other
projects around fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, and dealing with
the disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
could also be impacted.
Despite the harsh public statement, NATO Secretary General Anders
Fogh Rasmussen backtracked when speaking to reporters after the
ministerial meeting on Tuesday, apparently muddying the message the
alliance wants to send. Rasmussen said that NATO expects Russia to
continue working with the alliance on the important issues.
“I would expect the counter-narcotics projects to continue, I
would also expect the Afghanistan-related cooperation projects to
continue, the transit arrangements, as well as helicopter projects also
because we have a joint interest in ensuring success on our mission in
Afghanistan,” Rasmussen said.
NATO foreign ministers also urged Moscow in “to take immediate steps … to return to compliance with international law.”
The bloc said that it was stepping up its cooperation with Ukraine,
promoting defense reforms and increasing the activity of a liaison
office in Kiev.