Ukraine abolishes military neutrality law

The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday adopted a law on the abolition of the country's military neutrality, and on initiating efforts to join NATO.

Source: Beta, Tanjug
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303 deputies voted in favor - 77 votes more than the minimum necessary for the adoption of the bill, while only eight deputies voted against, Reuters said.

The Law on Military Neutrality Ukraine was adopted in 2010, "under pressure from Russia," according to the AFP agency.

The removal of this status will enable Ukraine to join "other military alliances."

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on December 19 sent to parliament for consideration a draft law on the abolition of the status of military neutrality, his website said.

The purpose of the law is, it is stated, is "to create additional mechanisms ensuring the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine."

"The status of neutrality of Ukraine proved to be ineffective in the context of defending the country against foreign aggression and oppression. The fact that Ukraine is in a gray buffer zone between powerful systems of collective defense in the long run is an additional challenge for our country," said Poroshenko.

Although NATO in 2008 considered the possibility of accepting Ukraine into membership, a specific date of its accession has never been established, said AFP.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reacted on Tuesday by saying the Ukrainian parliament's decision was "counterproductive," and added:

"It only strengthens confrontation and creates the illusion that the deep internal crisis in Ukraine can be solved by adopting such legislation."

Russia's OSCE representative Andrei Kelin previously stated that the decision represented a hostile move toward Russia that will only serve to further damage relations between the two countries.

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