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BRUSSELS, March 26, /ITAR-TASS/. In light of the situation around Ukraine and Crimea, NATO will review its ties with Russia, the North Atlantic alliance’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Wednesday after talks with US President Barack Obama.
“We will review the viability of our relationship with Russia,” Rasmussen said. “We do not seek confrontation but we will not waver if challenged.”
Crimea signed a treaty with Russia to become its constituent member on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The developments followed a coup in Ukraine in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials have repeatedly stated that the Crimean referendum was in full conformity with the international law and the UN Charter, and also in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.
Despite that, Ukraine’s new self-proclaimed authorities and the West have denounced the Crimean plebiscite claiming it was illegal, and have refused to recognize Crimea part of Russia. Western countries moved further, imposing sanctions on Russian officials, but Moscow imposed sanctions on Western officials in response.