Ukraine coalition agrees to make NATO membership a priority

AFP , Friday 21 Nov 2014

Ukraine's pro-Western political parties on Friday agreed to make joining NATO a priority in a coalition deal that will give them a parliamentary majority.

The coalition agreement inked by the five parties stipulates that a law must be passed by the end of the year confirming Ukraine's intention to push for membership of the military alliance.

Any step by Kiev towards joining the bloc would further rile Russia, with East-West tensions already at boiling point over fighting in east Ukraine between government forces and pro-Moscow rebels.

NATO has accused Moscow of pouring weapons and troops over the border to fuel a brutal conflict that has cost over 4,300 lives since April.

Moscow denies that it is involved in the fighting in east Ukraine but it openly supports the rebels politically.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in August first called on parliament to drop the country's non-alignment policy and endorse a NATO membership bid.

NATO discussed offering Ukraine membership in 2008, when Russia went to war against another former Soviet state, Georgia, but in 2010 then president Viktor Yanukovych opted for a non-aligned policy.

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