MOSCOW, April 4 (UPI) -- Russia announced Thursday it was recalling its ambassador to NATO after NATO decided Tuesday to suspend relations with Russia.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters Thursday that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's condemnation of Russian actions toward Ukraine were "confrontational." Further, Antonov asserted, NATO's decision to bolster collective defense in eastern Europe "in no way promote the de-escalation of tensions in the region."
On Tuesday, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to review NATO relations with Russia. At that meeting, NATO members issued a statement condemning "Russia's illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity." The members resolved to suspend relations with Russia, strengthen Ukraine's ability to defend itself, and enhance its collective security.
NATO forces have deployed air support to the Baltic region, and the U.S. has contributed 10 F-15s, with offers of more military equipment.
Antonov blamed NATO for "deliberate whipping up tensions" and because of NATO's actions, said that "we see no possibility to continue military cooperation with NATO in a routine regime." He decided "to recall Russia’s chief military representative at NATO, Colonel General Valery Yevnevich, for consultations in Moscow."
[ITAR-TASS News Agency]