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Law on Ukraine’s non-aligned status not to help stabilize situation - Matviyenko

December 25, 2014, 22:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The speaker of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko said Thursday the law on Ukraine’s non-aligned status will not help stabilize the political situation in the country.

“This is a regular hasty wrong decision made by the Kiev authorities,” Matviyenko said while answering questions from journalists. “And if we take into account that it was made to such a roaring of anti-Russian statements by a number of deputies, it just causes bewilderment and regret.”

She said Russia does not in any way threaten Ukraine’s security. “No state has done or will do as much as Russia has done over all these years after the collapse of the Soviet Union to support [Ukraine’s] economy, social stability,” the speaker said.

Matviyenko said Ukraine's ill-considered decision “will currently have no consequences from the viewpoint of possible admission to NATO because Ukraine is not ready.”

“It can’t become a NATO member, it’s not only my viewpoint, a similar viewpoint was voiced by the NATO secretary general and a range of Western politicians,” the lawmaker said, adding that accession to NATO “is a long difficult way, which is almost unreal, in my view.”

“But the key thing is that the law will not help stabilize the political situation in Ukraine, it does not lift but on the contrary aggravates the tension and split in society because no one asked that society,” she said, adding that the law should have been adopted after a referendum.

“This speaks of ill-considered, hasty and just populist steps,” Matviyenko said.

Non-aligned status bill

Ukraine's unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday, December 23, voted to give up Ukraine’s non-aligned status. The bill submitted by President Pyotr Poroshenko envisioned “giving up the status of a non-aligned state and return to the policy of rapprochement with NATO.”

Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said Tuesday in comment on the decision by the Rada to give up the country’s non-aligned status that an attempt has been made to position Ukraine as “a frontline state” in need of protection.

He said it is “evident that the Kiev authorities appeal to those in the West who staked on confrontation with Russia and who are proponents of continuing the alliance’s ‘open-door policy’ and ignore the pan-European security criteria.”

Russian officials' reaction

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said representatives of the Kiev authorities speaking for quitting the non-aligned status are doing so in order to solve the conflict in Ukraine’s southeast by military means. He said Ukraine’s status beyond any blocs is “one of the most important components ensuring European security.”

“The figures among the current Ukrainian leadership who speak for abandoning the non-aligned status do not conceal that they are doing that to solve problems of the southeast by military means, to fight Russia as the main adversary,” the top Russian diplomat said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in turn that Russia would like to hear that NATO would stop coming closer to Russia’s borders but added that “we do not hear that unfortunately.”

Developments in southeast Ukraine

Over 4,000 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, according to United Nations data.

A ceasefire was agreed upon at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.

A memorandum was adopted on September 19 in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The nine-point memorandum in particular envisioned a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

A "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9. It was seen as another attempt by both parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities.

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