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Yushchenko remains steadfast with NATO

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Yushchenko remains steadfast with NATO
File photo of Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko dated May 9, 2008. (UPI Photo/Mykhailo Markiv/Ukrainian President's Office) | License Photo

KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko says a collapse of Kiev's pro-Western coalition won't prevent Ukraine from seeking to join NATO and the European Union.

Yushchenko suggested this week's collapse was influenced by Russia and by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who had talks with "forces abroad," Yushchenko told the Financial Times in an article published Friday.

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"This is not a purely Ukrainian product," Yushchenko said of the coalition's disintegration.

Yushchenko said Ukraine had come too far in recent years to stop it from signing a partnership agreement with the European Union next week and continuing to explore membership in NATO.

"This is a political battle for power. It's a test," Yushchenko said of the split. "We will come out stronger. There will be no tanks rolling out."

The coalition split Wednesday after Tymoshenko's camp sided with the pro-Kremlin bloc of ex-premier Victor Yanukovich in a move to curtail Yushchenko's executive powers, the Financial Times reported.

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