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Ukraine NATO membership not on agenda — Yatsenyuk

Ukraine does not regard relations with the EU and Russia according to the “all or none principle", appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk noted

KIEV, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The issue of Ukraine’s admission to NATO “is not on the agenda” and Ukraine does not regard relations with the EU and Russia according to the “all or none principle”, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, appointed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) as prime minister, said on Tuesday in a televised address to the residents of southern and eastern regions of Ukraine.

“Exclusively for the sake of preservation of Ukraine’s unity - the issue of admission to NATO is not on the agenda,” he stated. “A strong, modern Ukrainian army will be defending the country.”

He confirmed that signing the political part of the agreement on association with the EU was planned for March 21 in Brussels. “We have postponed so far the signing of the economic part of the document, taking into account the people’s feelings and apprehensions that a free trade zone may have negative consequences for industrial regions - the east first of all,” he continued. “We will hold additional consultations on this issue.”

“We don’t regard relations with the EU and Russia according to the ‘all or none’ principle,” Yatsenyuk said. He promised “to do everything possible in order not to just preserve peace, but also to build true partnership and good neighborly relations with Russia."

Touching upon the use of Russian language, Yatsenyuk said that despite parliament’s decision to cancel the 2012 law on regional languages, it was still working in all regions where Russian speakers were in the majority and where the Russian language had a regional status de jure but was an official language de facto.

“No one is infringing on your right to use the Russian language freely,” Yatsenyuk said. Passing on to expansion of regional rights, Yatsenyuk said that the authorities would take account of the specific features of each region, including education, culture, history and local heroes while all the novelties linked to decentralization of power would be reflected in a new constitution, “which we should write together,” the prime minister said.

“Naturally, the Church is separated from the state, and questions in which patriarchate you are going to pray - the Kiev or the Moscow one - will remain, as it has always been, a matter of your personal choice,” Yatsenyuk said in his address, adding the most important task was to stabilise the situation in the country as soon as possible.

In this connection, the prime minister said that the government was launching a campaign to confiscate all unregistered weapons. “This operation will concern all armed people without exception irrespective of the slogans they are using,” Yatsenyuk clarified, calling on all Ukrainians to be calm and express their position by peaceful and exclusively legal means.