Kiev has vowed to contest the new charge — a warning that threatens a repeat of the 2006 and 2009 halts in gas supplies to Ukraine, which also affected many of Russia’s other European clients.
Europe’s worst security crisis in decades appeared to be only gaining momentum after NATO boosted the air power of Eastern European nations that Putin still views as part of Russia’s strategic domain.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday defended the move against Russian claims it violated international law.
“I’m actually surprised that Russia can claim that NATO has violated its commitments because Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made,” Rasmussen said.
“First and foremost the commitment not to invade other countries,” he added.
The 28-nation alliance has said firmly it did not intend to get militarily involved in Ukraine no matter what Russia did.