Russia and the West are locked in a Cold War-style stand-off over
Ukraine and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Moscow
to pull back troops from the Ukrainian border or face consequences
if they intervene.
The ministry said Rasmussen's remarks were confrontational and that
in recent months he had not offered "any constructive agenda" for
Ukraine, adding that it was adding to instability in the region.
"The constant accusations against us by the secretary general
convince us that the alliance is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine
to rally its ranks in the face of an imaginary external threat to
NATO members and to strengthen demand for the alliance ... in the
21st century," it said.
NATO has suspended all practical military and civilian cooperation
with Russia, although it said political dialogue could continue at
ambassador level or higher, since Russia incorporated Ukraine's
Crimea region last month.
The Western military alliance has also limited access for Russian
diplomat's to its headquarters and is reviewing a 1997 co-operation
agreement with Russia and subsequent Rome declaration of 2002 that
prevented it from setting up bases in eastern and central Europe.
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Russia has responded by accusing NATO of having a Cold War mentality
and has expressed concern over the possibility of deploying the
alliance's troops in eastern Europe permanently.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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