"We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue, through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of United Nations Security Council," said a statement read out by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday. (Agencies)
Winding up almost eight hours of talks, NATO allies condemned Russia's military escalation in Crimea and insisted that it "refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine" and abide by international commitments.
But the emphasis was on a political solution, with no threat of reprisal but instead a call to Moscow to "engage" in talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
When asked to elaborate, Rasmussen said many members had asked for a meeting with Russia but he gave no schedule for the talks.
The allies called also for ‘an inclusive political process in Ukraine based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfills the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people’.
Monday will see an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels as global powers scramble for a common response and amid talk of a possible extraordinary European Union summit next week.
As yesterday's talks began, Moscow faced a barrage of US-led warnings of reprisals, including the loss of its prestigious G8 seat.
Britain and France meanwhile announced they were suspending preparations for a June summit in Sochi of the Group of Eight developed nations, joining Canada and United States in sanctioning President Vladimir Putin for his stance on Ukraine.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had warned that Putin might even be stripped of his G8 seat, as well as face asset freezes on Russian business. "If Russia wants to be a G8 country it needs to behave like a G8 country," he said on a news channel.
But Germany disagreed, with Foreign Minister Frank-Wakter Steinmeier saying, “The G8 panel is the only panel where we Westerners talk directly to Russia, so should we really sacrifice this only panel?"
"We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue, through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of United Nations Security Council," said a statement read out by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday.