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UK prime minister says NATO must rethink long-term relationship with Russia

LONDON - Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has called on NATO to rethink its long-term relationship with Russia following its "illegal" actions in Ukraine and strike an agreement on how to sustain a robust presence in Eastern Europe.

In a letter to alliance leaders released Saturday, Cameron said it is clear that Russia views NATO as an adversary and that member states must strengthen their ability to respond quickly to any threat.

"We must accept that the co-operation of recent years is not currently possible because of Russia's own illegal actions in NATO's neighbourhood and revisit the principles that guide our relationship with Russia," Cameron said.

His comments follow the release of a report from a British parliamentary committee, which said Russian actions have posed fundamental questions about the alliance's ability to defend member states.

Recent events in Ukraine, following the cyberattack on Estonia in 2007 and the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, "have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of NATO preparedness, which will be tough to fix," the committee said.

Cameron says that today's world is more unpredictable as "Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive destabilization of Ukraine."

The prime minister's letter comes six weeks before a NATO summit in Wales, the first such meeting in the U.K. since Margaret Thatcher hosted the alliance 1990 as the Cold War was coming to a close.

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