MATTHEW LEE
Associated Press
August 19, 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium – NATO pulled its punches against Russia on Tuesday, suspending formal contacts as punishment for the Georgia invasion but bucking U.S. pressure for more severe penalties.

The Russian ambassador to NATO played down the impact of the emergency meeting of the Western alliance.

“The mountain gave birth to a mouse,” said Dmitry Rogozin.

Although the allies said they would not convene any more meetings of the NATO-Russia Council until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia, they bowed to concerns from Europe — which depends heavily on Russia for energy — and stopped short of adopting specific long-term steps to punish Moscow for its actions.

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