MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. Ukraine’s decision to give up the non-bloc status worsens the situation in the country and around it, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Wednesday.
“It’s not the pre-election statement, but it’s the decision by the parliament of the country,” he said.
“NATO countries prompted Ukraine to take a counter-productive decision while trying to turn Ukraine into a forward line of confrontation with Russia,” Antonov said.
“Russia cannot but take into account this decision in its work,” he said.
On December 22, the Ukrainian parliament voted to renounce the country’s non-aligned status in a move that paves the way for Kiev’s NATO membership bid.
The law, proposed by President Petro Poroshenko, was backed by 303 lawmakers, 77 more than the minimum required. The lawmakers considered a total of four similar bills.
All of these bills envisage “the abandonment of the non-bloc status and the return towards NATO rapprochement what will significantly increase Ukraine’s positions in defence.”
Commenting on the law, Russian permanent representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin said Ukraine did not correspond to criteria for joining NATO either in economic or in political terms.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late November that Kiev’s abandonment 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.