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Russia voices opposition to Ukraine's NATO membership

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted Thursday that Ukraine's attempt to gain NATO membership "is an obvious attempt to derail all efforts to initiate dialogue aimed at providing national security."

By JC Finley
Russia voices opposition to Ukraine's NATO membership
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke out Thursday against the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. (UPI/Monika Graff) | License Photo

MOSCOW, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke out Thursday against the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO.

Russia has been blamed by the organization (among others) for supporting separatists in Ukraine's eastern region and fueling armed conflict. Moscow has denied involvement in the conflict and on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin proposed a "Putin Plan" to purportedly stabilize the crisis.

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"This is an obvious attempt to derail all efforts to initiate a dialogue aimed at providing national security," Lavrov said Thursday at a meeting with the Council of Europe's secretary general.

"I am positive that until we refuse attempts to eternalize separating lines in Europe, until we seriously start dealing in practice with the principle of security inseparability in its all dimensions, in other words until we systematically resolve problems of the all-European nature, we will keep encountering from time to time situations similar to the crisis in Ukraine."

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk announced on August 29 that his country would seek NATO membership after accusations by Ukraine, NATO and the United Nations that Russia was a participant in the separatist rebellion in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has criticized Russia for its attempts to "destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation."

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the NATO Summit in Wales on Thursday to discuss another possibility that entails granting Ukraine the status of a Major Non-NATO Ally, possibly as an intermediate step before full membership.

NATO is currently comprised of 28 nations, its prevailing concept one of binding mutual aid in case of military attack. If Ukraine becomes a member, it would compel Ukraine to aid any NATO country, and in return compel NATO to come to Ukraine's aid.

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