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Russia says NATO trapped in 'Cold War thinking'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday a decision by NATO to limit Russian diplomats' access to its headquarters showed the military alliance could not rise above "the thinking of the Cold War era" and preferred the language of sanctions to dialogue. NATO announced tighter rules for access by Russian diplomats to its headquarters in Brussels on Monday, saying they were a consequence of its decision to suspend cooperation with Moscow over the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

NATO head urges Russia to pull back from Ukraine border

PARIS (Reuters) - NATO's secretary-general warned Russia on Tuesday that if it were to encroach into eastern Ukraine there would be "grave consequences" for its relationship with the alliance. Police detained 70 people occupying a regional administration building in eastern Ukraine overnight, but pro-Moscow protesters held out in a standoff in two other cities in what Kiev called a Russian-led plan to dismember the country.

NATO head warns Russia of 'grave consequences' over Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) - NATO's secretary-general warned Russia on Tuesday that if it were to encroach into eastern Ukraine there would be "grave consequences" for its relationship with the alliance. "If Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine it would be a historic mistake," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference in Paris. "It would have grave consequences for our relationship with Russia and would further isolate Russia internationally." (Reporting By John Irish; editing by Mark John)

U.S. to send F-16 jets to Romania for exercises

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The United States will deploy F-16 fighter jets to Romania this month as part of planned joint exercises, the NATO member's defense minister was quoted as saying, amid rising tensions in neighboring Ukraine after Russia's annexation of Crimea. Last month, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer conducted naval exercises with Romania and Bulgaria in the Black Sea, just a few hundreds miles (km) from Crimea, in a show of Washington's military reach.

Czech leader says NATO could offer troops to Ukraine if Russia goes beyond Crimea

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The West should take strong action, possibly including sending NATO forces to Ukraine, if Russia tries to annex the eastern part of the country, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Sunday. "The moment Russia decides to widen its territorial expansion to the eastern part of Ukraine, that is where the fun ends," Zeman said in a broadcast on Czech public radio.

Poland's PM says NATO to boost military presence within weeks

WARSAW (Reuters) - NATO will strengthen its presence in Poland within weeks, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday, a move that could help allay fears in eastern European states for their security after Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region. Tusk spoke three days after foreign ministers from the U.S.-led alliance ordered military commanders to devise plans for reinforcing NATO defenses among its eastern European members, including Poland, a neighbor of Ukraine.

US ambassador says Ukraine crisis boosting transatlantic ties

The new US ambassador to the European Union, Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, said on Friday that the crisis in Ukraine had reinforced transatlantic ties and highlighted increased European integration. "The EU is a much more effective partner... compared to 20 years ago when fewer members were not able to come up with a common view," said Gardner at a press conference in Brussels. Gardner, who took over the post last month, said the response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine -- including sanctions and the signing of an association agreement with Kiev -- had been impressive.

NATO hits out at Russian 'propaganda'

NATO hit back on Thursday at accusations by Moscow that the Western alliance was in violation of international law and accused Russia of fomenting "propaganda and disinformation" over the crisis in Ukraine. "No, of course we haven't violated the Rome Declaration and I'm actually surprised that Russia can claim that NATO has violated its commitments because Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Lithuania says rising number of Russian jets flying too close for comfort

VILNIUS (Reuters) - The number of Russian jets flying close enough to Baltic airspace this year to prompt NATO jets being scrambled has increased to around once a week, Lithuania said on Thursday, a concern for countries worried about an increasing assertiveness by Moscow. "The number of incidents of NATO jets being scrambled to identify Russian Federation aircraft has increased in January and February this year," minister of defense spokesman Vaidotas Linkus told Reuters by email.

Russia says wants answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe

By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it wanted answers from NATO on its activities in eastern Europe after the Western military alliance promised to beef up defenses for its eastern members. Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last month has caused the deepest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, leading the West to impose sanctions and sparking fear President Vladimir Putin has territorial designs beyond the Black Sea peninsula with its Russian-majority population.
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