Russia has slammed NATO for applying “Cold War” stereotypes and double standards after the alliance announced it will review its relations with Russia while stepping up engagement with the Ukrainian military.
“This meeting proved that NATO still has a double standard policy. And Cold War stereotypes are still applied towards Russia,” Russia’s NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, told reporters.
His comment comes as NATO and Russian officials met to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
He stated that NATO has decided to “take a number of immediate steps” because “Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its own international commitments.”
“We have also decided that no staff-level civilian or military meetings with Russia will take place for now,” Rasmussen added.
Russia and NATO had been discussing a possible joint mission to protect a US ship that will destroy Syria‘s deadliest chemical weapons. However, that plan has been suspended as one of the “immediate steps.”
“We have suspended the planning for our first NATO-Russia joint mission. The maritime escort for the US ship Cape Ray, which will neutralize Syria’s chemical weapons. Let me stress, this will not affect the destruction of chemical weapons, but Russia will not be involved in the escort of the US vessel,” Rasmussen said.
Nevertheless, NATO is willing to “keep the door open for political dialogue. So we are ready to maintain meetings of ambassadors in the NATO-Russia Council, as we have done today,” Rasmussen said.
NATO has decided to “intensify our partnership” and “strengthen our cooperation” with Ukraine in order to “support democratic reforms.”
“We will step up our engagement with the Ukrainian civilian and military leadership. We will strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises. And we will do more to include Ukraine in our multinational projects to develop capabilities,” Rasmussen clarified.
The way NATO sees it, cooperation between the alliance and Ukraine will “complement the international efforts to support the people of Ukraine” while they are forming their future.
“Tomorrow, I will meet the prime minister of Ukraine to make clear NATO’s support,” he stressed.
The statement from NATO’s Secretary General comes on the same day that Ukrainian parliament reportedly registered a draft bill on Ukrainian accession to the alliance, submitted by the Batkyvshchina (Fatherland) Party.