NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu offered a preview Monday of the two-day meeting, noting that "The first working session... will focus on support for Ukraine and the review of our relations with Russia. Ministers will also discuss the ability to operate with partners and defence capacity building."
On March 5, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that NATO was taking "a number of immediate steps" in response to Russia's incursion into Ukraine in an effort to "send a clear message: Russia's actions have consequences."
Those steps included suspending its first planned NATO-Russian joint mission to provide a maritime escort for U.S. vessel Cape Ray as it transported Syrian chemical weapons for at-sea destruction, as well as suspending all NATO staff-level civilian and military meetings with Russia.
Since that declaration, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in what the international community largely regarded as an illegal action under international law and Ukraine's constitution.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, emerged from a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the early hours of Monday with a changed tone that was more respectful of Ukraine shaping its own future.
It is unclear whether NATO plans to further sanction Russia for its actions in Ukraine or whether it will loosen or remove entirely the previously imposed suspensions.
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