NATO’s secretary general says there are “no signs” Russia is respecting its commitments over Ukraine, and that the US-led alliance will consider what to do next.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s top civilian official, made the comments on Wednesday ahead of a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers, including Secretary of State John Kerry.
One of the items on the agenda, Rasmussen said, is how NATO can help build Ukraine’s military capacities, including by creating targeted trust funds.
The Brussels meeting is the final gathering of high-ranking government officials before the summit of NATO’s leaders scheduled for September in Wales.
Kerry and his colleagues are expected to fine-tune the summit’s agenda on a wide array of topics, from how to redeploy NATO forces in response to Russian capabilities and actions to what to do in Afghanistan when the NATO-led combat mission in that country comes to an end this December.
This is “a critical moment for our security,” Rasmussen said.
“When we face old threats and new, from Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East. So we need to continue to adapt our readiness, and reinvest in our capabilities and partnerships.”
He noted Russia’s occupation and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula this spring had led the alliance to suspend programs for practical cooperation with Moscow.
“And I regret to say that we see no signs that Russia is respecting its international commitments,” Rasmussen said. “So today we will review our relations with Russia and decide what to do next.”
At the same time, he said, “we will agree on a package of long-term support measures for Ukraine, including the creation of new trust funds.”
Rasmussen said NATO, now at 28 nations, reserves the right to grow bigger, and in a clear reference to Russia, said “no third country” would be allowed to prevent that.