Russia now an adversary, NATO official says

BY Robert Burns, Associated Press  May 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM EDT

An employee wipes a TV screen in a shop in Moscow Thursday during the broadcast of President Vladimir Putin's televised question and answer session with the nation in April. Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

An employee wipes a TV screen in a shop in Moscow Thursday during the broadcast of President Vladimir Putin’s televised question and answer session with the nation in April. Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images


WASHINGTON — NATO’s second-ranking official says Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine have compelled the U.S.-led alliance to start treating Russia as more of an enemy than a partner.

This marks a turning point in decades of effort by NATO to draw Moscow closer, says Alexander Vershbow, the deputy secretary-general of the alliance. He made the remarks to a group of reporters.

Vershbow said the alliance is considering new measures aimed at deterring Russia from any aggression against NATO member countries along its border, such as the Baltic states that were once part of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov says the country’s security forces are “helpless” to stop unrest in two eastern regions bordering Russia. Video by Associated Press

Vershbow said that among possible moves by NATO are deployment of more substantial numbers of allied combat forces to Eastern Europe, either permanently or on a rotational basis.