June 03, 2010

Ukraine to stay out of military blocks - President Yanukovych, Kiev, June 4 (RIA Novosti)

First steps of Ukraine's new president


Ukraine will stay out of all military blocks, the country's president Viktor Yanukovych said in his televised address to the Ukrainian people.

Ukraine's parliament, the Supreme Rada, passed on Thursday in the first reading a bill that stipulates Ukraine's status of non-alignment with international blocs.

"The "out-of-blocks" policy fully corresponds with the current challenges, and we will follow it," he said.

The country, however, will pursue the existing partnership cooperation with NATO and its largest member, the U.S., Yanukovych added.

Yanukovych, who entered office in February, has made it clear he intends to drop his predecessor's plans to seek NATO membership. It has been suggested that this is another move to appease Russia, which was heatedly opposed to Ukraine's attempts at NATO membership; however, Yanukovych has indicated that he will try to maintain good ties with both Moscow and the West.

According to opinion polls, over 50% of Ukrainians are against NATO membership, and 30% are in favor of joining.

Last month, Ukraine said it would not join the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

KIEV, June 4 (RIA Novosti)

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