Russia warns Ukraine against NATO membershipApril 1st, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, April 1 (RIA Novosti) Russia said Tuesday Ukraine’s admission to NATO will have a negative impact on European security and Moscow’s relations with Kiev. “Ukraine’s accession to NATO will cause a deep crisis in Russian-Ukrainian relations that will affect all European security. Therefore, the West must also make a choice as to what kind of relationship with Russia is in its interests,” Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said.
He said Kiev’s admission to NATO would require a review of Russia’s own security policy.
“Our policy with regard to Ukraine will be based on respect, but we will develop it depending on Ukraine’s further actions,” he said.
He also said Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers were to meet “in the very near future”, and that a meeting of an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was to be held later in Kiev.
Russia’s foreign ministry had earlier said the ministers would meet April 15 in Moscow.
Karasin was addressing a parliamentary hearing on the future of a Russian-Ukrainian friendship, cooperation and partnership treaty, which expires in exactly a year.
US President George W. Bush arrived in Ukraine late Monday and following a meeting with President Viktor Yushchenko told journalists Tuesday: “We support MAP (membership application plan - a preliminary exercise leading to full NATO membership) for Ukraine.”
The visit is a stop-over before the April 2-4 NATO summit in Romania, which Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be attending, as a guest.
The Kremlin threatened in February to target missiles at Ukraine if Kiev joined NATO and allowed Western military facilities on its territory.
Monday, thousands of people gathered on Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) to rally against Bush and NATO, displaying Communist party flags and banners with the slogans: “NATO is worse than the Gestapo” and “Put Bush’s bloody dictatorship under an international tribunal”.
Yushchenko condemned the rallies, however, saying: “these were the flags that caused totalitarianism and suffering, the deaths of millions of people”.