“We do believe that the best way forward is to find a political solution. And to facilitate such a political solution, I firmly believe that the international community must respond determinately if Russia was to intervene further in Ukraine. Respond through deeper, broader, tougher economic sanctions that would definitely hurt Russian economy and isolate Russia further,” Rasmussen said during joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the course of NATO summit in Wales.
As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, relations between Russia and NATO deteriorated. Heads of the alliance kept accusing Russia of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, sending troops to Ukraine, and went as far as to claim that Moscow planned to invade Ukraine. However, none of these statements were supported with any evidence.
On April 1, NATO ended all practical cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, only maintaining contacts at the ambassadors' and higher levels.
Russian Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko suggested that the alliance was trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to its maximum, aiming to prove its relevance in the current security environment.