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MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The act cancelling Ukraine’s non-aligned status with a view to the possibility of joining NATO someday, which the country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted for on Tuesday, will by no means promote stability in Ukraine or enhance European security. On the contrary, it will cause extra tensions between Kiev and Moscow, polled experts have told TASS.
“Inside Ukraine the cancellation of the non-aligned status is a sheer decoy — the people have been taking to the streets again and again to press for economic demands only to be offered a tinselled dummy in exchange, because there is nothing else more tangible in store to be offered. The West refuses to bail out Ukraine. NATO’s bias will by no means help resolve the conflict in the south-east of the country, either. It will merely shift the crisis into high gear,” says the president of the International Center for Geopolitical Problems, Leonid Ivashov.
“The decision whether the state should stay neutral or join some military bloc is a constitutional act. But Ukraine has held no referendum on the issue so far, although President Petro Poroshenko at a certain point said in public that the attitude to NATO was a wedge driven into Ukraine and the issue would have to be decided in a plebiscite,” Ivashov recalled.
“Cancellation of the non-aligned status would pose a real threat to European security. It is the United States first and foremost, and not the Old World countries, that would like to see Ukraine a NATO member. As soon as Europe begins to display growing political unity, Washington emerges on the doorstep virtually in no time with another apple of discord to provoke rifts among European Union members. It’s a blow on the EU again,” the analyst believes.
“Only the Baltic countries, which do not share the financial burden of support for Kiev, will be quick to hail Ukraine’s drift towards NATO on orders from the United States. Those who are expected to pay the costs — the Germans, the French and the Belgians — are very far from being enthusiastic about this possibility. The Ukrainian army would have not just to be retrained to meet NATO standards, but rearmed, as well. The EU does not have the money. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says outright Ukraine should give up hope for early admission to NATO.
“Soberly-minded politicians in Europe have no wish whatsoever to be dragged into conflict with Russia over the cancellation of Ukraine’s non-aligned status. In the long term, if Ukraine becomes a NATO member in seven to ten years’ time, the United States will have a chance to deploy its military bases and missile defense systems in its territory, including the Black Sea coast. Also, the United States would like to persuade neutral Finland join the alliance, too. If that happens, NATO will have an anaconda loop swung around Russia’s neck. To avoid a situation where it might have to live at NATO’s gunpoint Russia will have to devise a response. This would push tensions in Europe and the world to a critical high,” Ivashov said.
“Ukraine’s decision to drop its non-aligned stance is a clear message from Kiev to Moscow it has no intention to accept the terms on which Russia would like to have the crisis in Donbas settled. Ukraine’s policy of non-alignment is number one on this list of terms. Thereby Kiev made a clear hint that it would ignore Russia’s attitude to settling the crisis in the south-east of Ukraine,” the president of the National Strategy Institute, member of the government’s expert council, Mikhail Remizov, has told TASS.
“The cancellation of Ukraine’s non-aligned status is an integral component of another Cold War about to be unleashed against Russia. That war is bound to last,” Remizov believes.
“The decision to terminate the non-aligned status does not mean that Ukraine will seek admission to NATO no matter what. It is anyone’s guess which will happen in the country in a year from now. What if Kiev applies for membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization?” the chief of the International Security Center under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexey Arbatov, has told TASS. “At the macro-level none of NATO’s member-states is eager to welcome Ukraine to the club. According to an unwritten rule the alliance is closed to countries involved in unsettled territorial disputes. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has made it pretty clear: Ukraine’s accession to the alliance may happen only at some distant future date. Everything will depend on Ukraine’s relationship with Russia. If it does get back to normal, an amicable deal may materialize. If confrontation is the solution of choice, there will be nothing else but confrontation,” Arbatov concluded.
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