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NATO Suspends Cooperation With Russia Over Crimea Crisis

NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia Tuesday in protest of its annexation of Crimea, ordering military draft measures to strengthen its defenses and reassure nervous Eastern European countries about NATO's support.

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 crisis in that region since the Cold War.

NATO agreed to "suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia."

"Through its actions, Russia has undermined the principles on which our partnership is built, and has breached its own international commitments," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "So we cannot go on doing business as usual."

Moscow says it has pulled back some troops, prompting a U.S. State Department official to comment that Russia might have made “a token gesture in the direction of withdrawal.”

Rasmussen said NATO had not seen evidence of Russia’s withdrawal claim.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's former NATO envoy and current deputy prime minister, said NATO's decision to halt Russian cooperation means "cold war," according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

"NATO decided to freeze cooperation with Russia until June. And they announced this on April 1. Last time (2008), they froze for three whole months and by December they thawed. What is there to say? It's a cold war, so they freeze," he wrote on Twitter late on Tuesday.

— Albina Kovalyova, with Reuters