KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Ukraine will seek NATO membership, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Friday.
His announcement came after accusations by Ukraine, NATO and the United Nations that Russia is a participant in the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen referred Friday to a "serious escalation of Russian aggression" in claiming Russia is attempting to "destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation."
He spoke at a special NATO meeting convened to discuss the Ukraine situation.
Yatsenyuk said he will ask Ukrainian legislators to emend the country's constitution, removing a clause declaring it a non-aligned nation, and will seek legislation forbidding Ukraine to join organizations contrary to NATO's interests, such as the Eurasian Economic Community, a trade bloc of former Soviet states.
NATO is currently comprised of 28 nations, its prevailing concept one of binding mutual aid in case of military attack. The treaty would compel Ukraine to aid any NATO country, and in return compel NATO to come to Ukraine's aid. Ukraine seeks entry into the European Union as well, an economic organization which, with the United States, has imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian situation.