MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has suspended contacts with NATO because of the situation in Ukraine, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said Thursday.
"For now we will not be making any efforts to establish contact with NATO, due to their stance during the Ukrainian crisis," Bordyuzha said at a press conference hosted by RIA Novosti.
He explained that NATO is currently "blackmailing" Russia and its allies. "Today, NATO is blackmailing all of the CSTO member states ... showing that they are extremely dissatisfied with Russia's actions in recent months."
Last week, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance intends to deploy additional military personnel to enhance combat readiness and perform military drills, as well as revise its defense plans in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. The Atlantic alliance also decided to strengthen air patrols in Eastern Europe and send ships to the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
Russian authorities are closely watching the actions of NATO in the context of the situation in Ukraine. Russia's envoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko, has warned about taking "necessary measures" to prevent Russian security from being undermined by the new NATO steps.