The former secretary general noted that when he took office in August 2009, he made it one of his priorities to develop what he called "a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia."
"I believed that this partnership could further develop until February-March 2014 when resident Putin attacked Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea into the Russian Federation," Rasmussen stated.
Russian relations with Western nations soured following disagreements over the crisis in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia after Crimea held a referendum in 2014 in which a vast majority of its residents decided to reunify with Russia.
Washington and its allies have accused Moscow of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations of interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.