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30 Apr, 2008 00:51

Is Russia fuelling anti-NATO campaign in Ukraine?

According to the latest poll, in just three months some 10 per cent of Ukrainians have changed their mind about the country’s strategic plans to join NATO. At a recent summit, the alliance decided not to hand Ukraine a roadmap for entry, citing public opp

Ukraine’s authorities are doing little to reverse the trend. Most Ukrainians are wary of breaking ties with Moscow in order to join the block of former Cold War enemies.

Vadim Karasev, a political analyst, says Russia is behind the negative trend.

“When President Putin said that Russian missiles could be pointed at Ukraine, it made our people stop and think. Then these never-ending gas wars recurring yearly, and finally some statements that the Crimea is historically Russian land, which should be returned if NATO expands further,” he said.

Only a few believe NATO could bring economic prosperity and improve living standards in Ukraine.
The Democratic Initiatives Fund, a pro-western NGO campaigning for European integration, discovered in its latest opinion poll that the already small number of those wanting to join the alliance has fallen even more.

Along with this survey, the agency launched an information campaign aimed at rebuffing some of the stereotypes about NATO.

In leaflets they explain that the alliance did not start the war in Iraq, that Ukrainian soldiers will not fight there unless their government orders them to, and that relations with Russia will only get better should the country join the alliance.