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17 Mar, 2010 11:52

Ukraine gives red light to NATO?

Ukraine is not going to be a member of any other countries’ military-political alliance, according to the country’s ruling coalition.

Its non-allied status will be legally established, governmental newspaper “Golos Ukrainy” published on Tuesday.

In addition, a parliamentary majority agreed to “form an agenda in bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, based on strategic partnership, friendship and good neighborly relations, and mutually proficient trade-economic cooperation.”

However, the intention “to continue constructive cooperation with NATO on all issues of mutual interest” is also expressed in the paper.

This move comes in sharp contrast with the policy of the previous Ukrainian government under Viktor Yushchenko, who had sought membership in NATO since he became president after the Orange Revolution in 2004. As such, this is a complete U-turn on the precious policy.

The government’s statement, however, does not mention the European Union which Ukraine under Yushchenko had also sought to join.

Historically, Russia had always opposed the plans of Ukraine becoming a member state of NATO. Thus the recently published military doctrine lists NATO’s possible Eastern expansion as Russia’s greatest external threat.

Such a move caused outrage within the country. The opposition of Yanukovich’s government said that, in return, they are going to work together against Yanukovich and his supporters in parliament.

Independent political analyst Vladimir Kozin believes that this will not spoil Ukrainian relations with the Alliance.

“For any objective and rationally-minded nation like the United States, it will be a normal step in the right direction,” Kozin told RT. “A normal step by the nation who enjoys sovereignty and independence. Ukraine, by the way, is not going to sever its ties with the NATO alliance completely. It said that in the future they will have a close relationship with NATO on a number of matters of mutual interests.”

“For Eastern Europe – yes, it is a good example, why not follow?” added Kozin. “Why expand an Alliance [made up of] 28 nations, having 80% of the world military expenditures exceeding $1 trillion per year, and which is going to expand a ballistic missile defense shield elsewhere, globally, including Eastern and Southern Europe?”

Read also: NATO rattles its weapons near Russia’s borders again