For the first time the long-term security implications of Russian actions overUkraine will be up for discussion before Nato Defence Ministers. The talks inBrussels will also focus on what action Nato member states should take in response. Relations between Nato and Moscow plummeted afterRussia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March. Recently, Russia’s envoy to the bloc threatened to end a long-standing co-operation treaty with Nato. A senior Nato official quoted by AFP news agency said Defence Ministers would be making “fundamental decisions” regarding Russia that would go before Nato leaders at a September summit in the UK. Officials said there had been a “frank exchange of views” a during a recent meeting of the Nato-Russia Council, which groups ambassadors from the 28 member states and Russia.
Nato states “repeated their very strong and clear position on the illegal and illegitimate annexation” of Crimea, alliance spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said. They hailed the recent presidential election in Ukraine “as a clear vote for the unity of Ukraine and called on Russia to engage constructively with the newly elected President”, she added. Nato also called on Russia “to respect its international commitments, to stop the flow of arms and weapons across the border, to stop supporting armed separatists inUkraine”, she said.