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'No sign' of Russian pullout from Ukraine border, NATO says

Rasmussen says 'no threat against allies will succeed'

01 April, 17:20
'No sign' of Russian pullout from Ukraine border, NATO says (ANSA) - Brussels, April 1 - NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday there was no sign of a Russian troop pullout from the border with Ukraine and reaffirmed the alliance's commitment to a collective defence. "Defence starts with deterrence so we will take the necessary steps to make it clear to the world that no threat against NATO allies will succeed," said Rasmussen at the start of a two-day meeting of NATO country foreign ministers in Brussels.

On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he had ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops near the eastern border of Ukraine, where Moscow is believed to have massed tens of thousands of soldiers since its annexation of Crimea last month.

Russia's aggression against Ukraine "challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace," said the NATO chief, adding that NATO ministers would make clear that its actions are unacceptable. "We will take decisions on which cooperation with Russia is still appropriate. Because through its actions, Russia has undermined the principles on which our partnership is built, and has breached its own international commitments. So we cannot go on doing business as usual," he concluded.