Ukraine crisis: Nato to end co-operation with Russia over annexation of Crimea and its failure to withdraw troops from its neighbours' border

Foreign ministers for the 28-member body consider bolstering its military presence in eastern Europe as Moscow sharply hikes cost of natural gas it supplies to Ukraine

Brussels

Nato foreign ministers have ordered an end to all civil and military co-operation with Russia, stating that they had seen no evidence of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border.

Foreign ministers for the 28-member body began a two-day meeting in Brussels today to discuss how to react to the annexation of Crimea and how to reassure the alliance’s rattled eastern members in the face of a newly assertive Russia, including options for bolstering Nato’s military presence in eastern Europe.

The Secretary General of Nato played down reports of a Russian pullback from border areas with Ukraine. On Monday, Russia’s defence ministry said one battalion – about 500 troops – had withdrawn.

“This is not what we have seen,” the Nato chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told reporters. “This massive military build-up can in no way contribute to a de-escalation of the situation – a de-escalation that we all want to see – so I continue to urge Russia to pull back its troops, live up to its international obligation and engage in a constructive dialogue with Ukraine.”

The Nato meeting, which included Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, agreed further increases in air patrols already being conducted by other Nato members over the Baltic Sea.

In other developments, Moscow sharply hiked the cost of the natural gas it supplies to Ukraine and threatened to reclaim billions in earlier discounts, raising the heat on Ukraine’s cash-strapped government. Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom has withdrawn a discounted gas price of $268.50 (£161) per 1,000 cubic metres and set it at $385.50 for the second quarter.

The Russian parliament also moved to annul agreements with Ukraine to rent Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base in Crimea until 2042.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament ordered security services to disarm all “illegal armed groups”, following a shooting in the city late on Monday night that wounded three people. Police said the incident involved a member of the radical Right Sector group. Parliament also voted to hold joint military exercises with Nato and other nations on Ukrainian soil.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there