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Russia to freeze military cooperation with NATO

DPA [1]
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2008

Russia has decided to freeze and cancel all military cooperation with Norway and other NATO members, the Norwegian Defence Minsitry said Wednesday.

The Defence Ministry issued a statement saying it has noted that Russia ‘until further notice ‘freezes’ all military cooperation with NATO and allied countries.’

Earlier, the online edition of Oslo daily Aftenposten had reported on the pending decision by Russia.

The Defence Ministry added that in its view the Russian decision would not impact activities concerning the Coast Guard as well as search and rescue operations since they are handled by civilian authorities in Russia.

Among initial activities likely to be affected between Russian and Norwegian defence forces was a planned visit in early September by the Russian Northern Fleet’s 61st Marine Infantry Brigade to a Norwegian commando unit, the Defence Ministry said.

Aftenposten, citing Norwegian government sources, said Moscow was due to send a diplomatic note to that affect to Norway and other NATO members.

The move comes the day after NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels and strongly criticized Russia’s actions in the ongoing conflict in Georgia and breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Norway’s Nordic neighbour Sweden, wich is not a member of NATO, on Monday said it wuld halt its military exchange with Russia to protest Russia’s actions.