Abolition of non-aligned status does not envisage Ukraine’s accession to NATO

Abolition of non-aligned status does not envisage Ukraine’s accession to NATO
Photo: Ukrainian Photo

Today, the Verkhovna Rada is planning to abolish the non-aligned status of Ukraine by adopting the corresponding bill drafted by the Presidential Administration. Unlike similar draft laws proposed by people’s deputies, which will not be considered at the moment, the presidential document does not contain the norm on Ukraine being granted membership in NATO. It only envisages enhancement of cooperation with the Alliance.

Attempt No. 2

Yesterday at the VR Conciliatory Council the deputies decided on the agenda for Tuesday. «The session will open with voting for the law introduced by the president on the abolition of Ukraine’s non-aligned status. I am convinced that this landmark law will be supported by the parliament,» Head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Yuriy Lutsenko told Capital. He specified that the deputies are planning to pass the law in general. The draft law On Introduction of Changes to Certain Laws of Ukraine Concerning Cancellation of Ukraine’s Non-aligned Policy was presented to the VR on December 18. Two days later its author President Petro Poroshenko called on the parliament to approve the document without delay. All factions of the coalition voiced their unconditional support of the draft law yesterday.

At that, it was decided that the three other similar draft laws, which were earlier introduced to the parliament by deputies of Batkivshchyna, People’s Front and the PPB would be recalled. «We are ready to withdraw our draft law and support the president. The next step is work on accession into NATO,» said Batkivshchyna faction leader Yulia Tymoshenko at the meeting of the Conciliatory Council.

As a reminder, the decision on the abolition of non-aligned status was approved back on August 28 at the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council. Representatives of the NSDC noted that the Cabinet must urgently «draft and submit to the president a draft law on Introduction of Changes to Certain Laws of Ukraine Concerning the Cancellation of Ukraine’s Non-aligned Policy. Poroshenko signed this decision on September 24. The parliament has not considered it yet.

A source of Capital in the PF informed that at the end of summer the decision of the Ukrainian authorities on the change of military-political priorities was influenced by the preparation of NATO Summit in Wales in the beginning of September. «Back then NATO leadership spoke about the necessity of such a step for Ukraine. However, there was no breakthrough after the summit and the issue was not viewed as urgent,» he said.

At the same time, MP Viktor Chumak (PPB) said that in the autumn the draft law on abolition of non-aligned status was not introduced to the session hall due to fears that it may not garner enough votes in support of this initiative. «Earlier, the parliament did not have the possibility to vote for the draft law as it would not gain enough votes in favor of this decision in the previous convocation of the parliament,» he told Capital.

As a reminder the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law in July 2010 On Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy, which established the non-aligned status, thereby not allowing Ukraine to participate in any military-political alliances. The document also excluded the norm on Ukraine’s aspiration for NATO membership from the list of main directions of the state policy in the sphere of national security.

Course of uncertainty

Now, President Poroshenko is proposing to introduce changes to this law. In particular, in the chapter on the main principles of foreign policy a norm will be introduced on the enhancement of cooperation with NATO «to meet the criteria required for obtaining membership in this organization». «The non-aligned status of Ukraine turned out to be ineffective in the context of ensuring state security from foreign aggression and pressure,» reads the explanatory note to the draft law.

Former Deputy Head of the General Staff in 2006-2010 Ihor Romanenko told Capital that the change of status is Kyiv’s signal to the West about the desire to move in the European direction, including hopes for its financial assistance on this path.

However, Ukraine will not be able to submit an application for NATO membership soon, as the country is not ready to meet the membership requirements as western politicians have repeatedly pointed out. At the same time, expert on international security issues Hryhoriy Perepelytsya believes that the draft law of the president will prevent the adoption of alternative draft laws of the deputies. «The deputies in their draft laws specified the course towards NATO membership, while the president’s document offers to enhance cooperation with the Alliance with the objective to achieve the criteria required for membership in this organization,» he emphasized.

A source of Capital in the PF said that earlier there was a dispute between the coalition and the president about the clause in the coalition agreement, which specified Ukraine’s future membership in NATO. «For the president this is a painful issue,» he said.

Co-director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programs at the Razumkov Center Oleksiy Melnyk believes that the change of the status will not bring any practical benefits for Kyiv. «The decision itself is expedient, but its realization will do more damage than good. The country’s leadership should have drafted a new edition of the law on principles of domestic and foreign policy and not changed their wishes depending on their moods,» said Melnyk.

Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov stated that the preservation of the non-aligned status by Ukraine is a «matter of principle for Russia».

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