NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen just announced that NATO has "put the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation under review," and that "we will strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises."
Rasmussen also said that NATO has suspended planning its first joint mission with Russia, a maritime escort for the U.S. ship tasked with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, and that staff won't meet with Russia for now. "These steps," he said, "send a clear message: Russia's actions have consequences."
Rasmussen continued that though NATO would like to leave the door for negotiation with Russia open, right now too much is at stake. He said:
As Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, it is my duty to uphold the principles on which our relationship is founded. Those fundamental principles are now at stake. Our joint pledge to observe in good faith our obligations under international law. And our commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other, or any other state. So I asked the Russian Ambassador to convey NATO’s firm message to Moscow. At the same time we have decided to intensify our partnership with Ukraine, and strengthen our cooperation to support democratic reforms.
The statement follows a meeting between Ukraine and NATO in Brussels intended to figure out a way to ease tensions in Crimea, where Russian troops have taken control.
Russia has responded -- ironically, for a nation desperate to regain Soviet-era regional influence -- that NATO is using "cold war" standards. Reuters reports that NATO's Russian Envoy Alexander Grushko accused the organization of using double standards, saying "this meeting proved that NATO still has a double standard policy. And Cold War stereotypes are still applied to Russia."
U.S. lawmakers are considering slapping sanctions on Russia as part of a Ukraine aid package deal, as well. Representative Ed Royce told Bloomberg Businessweek that “The goal will be to have the Russians put into the economic calculus the economic consequences which could be very great with respect to their capital markets and the strength of the ruble." Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said Washington is considering a "wide range" of options, adding that "the steps Russia has taken to violate Ukraine's sovereignty, Ukraine's territorial integrity, are a breach of International law."