Russia accused NATO on Wednesday of applying double standards and “Cold War” stereotypes to Moscow after the Western alliance said it was reviewing cooperation with Russia over tensions in Ukraine.
“This meeting proved that NATO still has a double standard policy. And Cold War stereotypes are still applied towards Russia,” Russian’s envoy Alexander Grushko told reporters after a meeting of NATO and Russian officials to discuss Ukraine.
Earlier, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that ambassadors for NATO’s 28 member states decided after a meeting with their Russian counterpart to suspend plans for a joint mission as well as all civilian and military meetings.
Rasmussen said because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula “the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation (is) under review.”
Rasmussen said the alliance will continue to meet with Moscow at the political level but insisted that halting all other cooperation “sends a very clear message to Russia.”
He also said NATO decided “to intensify our partnership with Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “discussed possible scenarios for international co-operation in the normalization of the social and political situation,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
U.N. special envoy to Crimea Robert Serry cut short his mission to the region Wednesday after unidentified gunmen threatened him and ordered him to leave, an assistant travelling with him told AFP.
Serry, who had been sent to assess the situation in the disputed Black Sea peninsula for UN chief Ban Ki-moon, was confronted by gunmen outside the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea’s capital Simferopol.
After he was prevented from returning to his vehicle, he dropped into a cafe to use a telephone to alert the mission of the incident, and an angry group of pro-Russian activists briefly blocked his exit, the aide said.
Serry then left on foot for his hotel after his safety was assured, and he was driven to the airport where he was in a lounge waiting for a flight.
“He’s fine. The self-defense militias in Simferopol have guaranteed his security,” Serry’s assistant told AFP by phone from the car.
“He wants to fly to Kiev but there is no ticket for him yet. He is hoping that he can leave Crimea without further incident,” she said.
Serry himself would not speak on the phone.
U.N. deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson said: “He is in good shape physically but he feels threatened.”
Serry, a former Dutch ambassador to Kiev who was travelling with a U.N. colleague, was accosted by gunmen outside the naval headquarters on Wednesday and warned “he should leave Crimea,” according to the United Nations.
Serry had arrived only Tuesday in the tense Crimean peninsula, which has come under de facto control by Russian forces.
He had already aborted a trip to Crimea last week, saying tensions made it impossible to visit the peninsula.SHOW MORE