Russia stops co-operation with Nato allies

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Russia told Nato today that it had suspended military cooperation activities with alliance countries until further notice, the Western military pact said.

"Russia has informed us through military channels that the minister of defence of the Russian Federation has taken a decision to halt international military cooperation events between Russia and Nato countries ... until further instructions," Nato spokeswoman Carmen Romero said.

Nato members Norway, Estonia and Latvia have already said they had received notice of the step, which emerged after the alliance agreed this week that normal ties with Moscow were not possible until it had withdrawn troops from Georgia in line with efforts to end the South Ossetia conflict.

Nato and Russia have cooperated in areas such as small-scale missile defence systems, naval activities and academic exchanges, and earlier this year signed a transit agreement for non-lethal equipment through Russia for use in the Afghan war.

The spokeswoman said that Nato took note of the Russian step and added that she had no information as to whether it would affect the Afghan transit accord.