NATO announces review of cooperation with Russia

BRUSSELS, March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 1:44pm EST

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BRUSSELS, March 5 (Reuters) - NATO announced a full review of its cooperation with Russia on Wednesday to try to pressure Moscow into backing down on Ukraine and said it would suspend planning for a joint mission linked to Syrian chemical weapons.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said alliance officials would no longer hold staff-level meetings with their Russian counterparts, while stepping up engagement with Ukraine's civilian and military leadership.

"We have also decided that no staff-level civilian or military meetings with Russia will take place for now," Rasmussen told reporters after a meeting between NATO and Russian officials in Brussels.

NATO has been in talks with Russia on a possible joint mission to protect a U.S. ship that will destroy Syria's deadliest chemical weapons. (Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; Ediitng by Sonya Hepinstall)

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