A man looks at Russian army trucks on freight carriages at the settlement of Gvardeiskoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol April 1, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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NATO's foreign ministers ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia on Tuesday and told their generals and admirals to quickly figure out ways to better protect alliance members that feel threatened by Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.To reassure alliance members closest to Russia and Ukraine, NATO already has stepped up air patrols over the Baltic Sea and AWACS surveillance flights over Poland and Romania.Prior to the meeting, the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization downplayed reports of a Russian troop withdrawal from areas along its border with Ukraine. An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 Russian troops equipped with tanks, other armored vehicles and fixed and rotary wing aircraft remained positioned near the border with Ukraine, a NATO military official told The Associated Press on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.Ukraine's foreign minister, who was meeting with his NATO counterparts, planned to speak to reporters later in the day.
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