Ukraine votes to drop non-aligned status

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Ukraine’s parliament has voted to drop the country’s non-aligned status and work towards NATO membership, the BBC informs.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the move “counterproductive” and said it would boost tensions.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledged to seek NATO membership over Russian support for rebels in the east.

Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, denies supplying the rebels with weapons. However, it is subject to EU and US sanctions over the crisis.

In a vote in Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday, MPs overwhelmingly backed the move by 303 to eight.

Speaking before the vote, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Ukraine was determined to pivot towards Europe and the West. “This will lead to integration in the European and the Euro-Atlantic space,” he said.

The non-aligned status, which Ukraine adopted in 2010 under Russian pressure, prevents states from joining military alliances.

 

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