KIEV, December 23. /TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted for abandonment of republican non-aligned status on Tuesday. As many as 303 lawmakers with minimal required number of 226 deputies voted for a document setting a course for country’s likely membership in NATO.
“Finally we have rectified the error. European and Euro-Atlantic integration is a non-alternative way for Ukraine,” President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page. Last Saturday, he named refusal from joining NATO in 2010 as “the largest mistake of the former Ukrainian leadership.”
The decision cancelling the non-aligned status will mount tension in the society and seeks “to distract attention from a disastrous living standard fall in the country,” Rada deputy from the Opposition Bloc Oleksandr Vilkul noted.
Plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic at Contact Group talks Denis Pushilin named the decision giving up non-aligned status as “a negative step for Ukraine.” “This is very difficult to understand why Ukrainians do not understand what is happening in the homeland and that now state policy is in favour of other countries, but not Ukraine,” Pushilin said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov named refusal from Ukraine’s off-bloc status counterproductive on Tuesday. “This only fuels up confrontation and creates an illusion that a deep domestic state crisis in Ukraine can be settled by enacting such laws,” he noted.
The law endorsed in the Verkhovna Rada “may mount tension in Russian-Ukrainian relations, will complicate restoration of very difficult talks after all,” chairman of Russian parliamentary lower house State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs Leonid Slutsky noted.
“This is a direct challenge to Russia,” member of the parliamentary defense committee Frants Klintsevich said. This decision put it clearly to Donbas people, “No one will listen to you,” he said. “But how in this case to live together, in ‘a common political space’?!” Klintsevich noted.
“Except for high uproar this law will bring nothing,” Russian Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Andrey Kelin noted. For accession to NATO “very tough criteria are set,” Kelin noted, adding that “Ukraine does not meet these criteria, both in economic and political aspects.” Meanwhile, he admitted that the law endorsement “is certainly the evidence of orientation: what Kiev authorities plan to do.”