World / Europe

Abolishment of Ukraine's non-aligned status threatens regional security

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-24 09:54

Abolishment of Ukraine's non-aligned status threatens regional security

Parliamentary deputies applaud after a renouncing of Ukraine's "non-aligned" status during a session of a parliament in Kiev, December 23, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - Russian senior officials slammed Ukraine's Tuesday decision to abolish non-aligned status, saying the "big mistake" would lead to instability in the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Ukraine's " counterproductive" decision, which would "only ignites confrontation".

The Ukrainian parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to abandon the country's non-aligned status, paving the way for it to join NATO.

The new law envisages that Kiev is heading for deepening cooperation with NATO "in order to achieve the criteria which are required for membership in the alliance."

Russia's first official response has come from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who wrote on his Facebook late Monday night that Kiev's decision made Ukraine Russia's potential military adversary.

"Ukrainian president has submitted a bill to Verkhovna Rada canceling Ukraine's non-aligned status. Essentially, this is a bid to join NATO, which makes Ukraine Russia's potential military adversary," according to Medvedev.

More Russian senior diplomats expressed on Tuesday their anger on Ukraine's decision.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin warned that the decision was a serious political mistake that could have dire consequences for the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Another deputy foreign minister Alexei Meshkov claimed that even words in regard to Ukraine joining NATO would directly harm pan-European security and undermines its basic principles, let alone any actual actions taken by the Ukrainian side.

The focus now should be on "creating a system in Europe under which every state would feel comfortable, safe and could concentrate on positive agenda," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Meshkov as saying.

Moscow's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Andrei Kelin, also said that the " unfriendly" move taken by Kiev would generate nothing but a lot of fuss.

Ukraine's decision concerning possible NATO membership came as Kiev confirmed later on Tuesday that a fresh round of peace talks between representatives from Kiev and the leadership of independence-seeking insurgents will take place on Wednesday in Minsk.

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