KIEV, December 23. /TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament Verkhovna Rada is due to consider on Tuesday bills on dropping the country’s non-aligned status for a possible NATO membership bid.
President Petro Poroshenko, who submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada last week, said the refusal to join NATO in 2010 was the “biggest mistake of the former Ukrainian leadership.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in late November the membership may be sought by countries that fulfil the criteria for becoming NATO allies, and that is also valid for Ukraine.
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that it was possible for NATO to have a partnership with Ukraine, but not membership.
Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc said the country’s new policy in the national defense sphere is the policy of continuing the war and building the Great Wall between Ukraine and its neighbor Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late November that Kiev’s abandoning of the current non-bloc status meant a course towards solving the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine by force and struggle against Russia.
Kiev started building ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine was one of the first former Soviet states which joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program in 1994.
Former President Leonid Kuchma officially announced Ukraine’s plans to join the alliance. During the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine launched dialogue on the possible membership. When Viktor Yanukovych came to power, Ukraine proclaimed a non-bloc status.