NATO Suspends Cooperation With Russia, Not That Penalties Have Ever Changed Putin's Mind About Anything

In the ongoing game of tit-for-tat over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, NATO decided to suspend civilian and military cooperation with Russia during a meeting in Brussels Tuesday. The 28-member alliance also ordered its military to figure out how to protect its alliance countries who are now feeling threatened by Russian President Vladimir Putin and company.

While the meeting was private, an anonymous NATO civilian official briefed reporters on the unanimous alliance agreement, which includes the potential to:

  • Review NATO's military exercise and training schedules, and review the crisis response plans
  • Place the alliance's rapid response force on a higher readiness level
  • Reinforce and deploy military to eastern alliance members feeling threatened by the latest actions from Russia

Plus, surveillance flights and patrols have already increased over Romania, Poland and the Baltic Sea.

In a joint statement, alliance members say Russia has "violated international law" and "gravely breached the trust upon which our co-operation must be based." NATO members are asking Russia to take "immediate steps" to be in "compliance with international law."

Ukraine and NATO also released a joint statement, saying they would "implement immediate and longer term measures to strengthen Ukraine's ability to provide its own security."

This new NATO agreement is, of course, a direct result of Russia stepping up its troops on the Ukrainian border, fueling the crisis. Although Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he had ordered a withdrawal of some Russian troops on Monday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance hasn't seen that yet.

As previously reported by Bustle:

The country’s been on a sweeping takeover as of late: gaining control of Black Sea peninsula, starting the process of turning Crimean residents into Russian citizens, and claiming everything as theirs — including Ukraine’s dolphins. In a counter attempt, NATO is considering military exercises on their part and increasing air surveillance in Eastern European countries.

Response from the alliance comes nearly a week after President Obama called for NATO’s “regular presence” in “vulnerable” countries. Meanwhile, Moscow continues to call the shots, with Russia warning Ukraine against integration with NATO, advising the country not to develop a closer relationship that could further strain relations.