Ukraine to take part in NATO Response ForceJune 14th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS
Brussels, June 14 (RIA Novosti) Ukraine will take part in the NATO Response Force as a partner country, secretary general of the western military alliance Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has said. Scheffer’s statement came following a Ukraine-NATO commission meeting in Brussels Friday.
The response force consists of rapid deployment forces with land, air and sea components, capable of swiftly reacting to crisis situations.
Ukraine was one of the first NATO partner countries to offer to play a role in the NATO Response Force.
The country’s pro-Western leadership has been pursuing NATO membership since 2004, when President Viktor Yushchenko came to power.
Ukraine failed to secure membership in the NATO membership action plan, a key step toward joining the alliance, at a NATO summit in April, but was told the decision would be reviewed in December.
Russia staunchly opposes the post-Soviet country’s NATO ambitions, and the Kremlin threatened in February to retarget missiles at Ukraine if it joins NATO.
A poll conducted in April by the FOM-Ukraina pollster showed a majority of Ukrainians oppose NATO membership.
According to the poll, 54.9 percent of respondents said they would vote against joining the military alliance if a referendum were held.