Ukraine's Nato prospects 'considerably weakened'

Ukraine’s chances of joining Nato have been “considerably weakened” by the country’s political crisis, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Friday.

“The unilateral withdrawal by the president and his team from the coalition has considerably weakened the chances of Ukraine completing its Euro-Atlantic path,” she said at a joint press conference with Poland’s prime minister.

“We still hope for a positive resolution for this question,” she said, referring to Ukraine’s aspiration to join the Atlantic alliance.

Ukraine’s ruling pro-Western coalition collapsed this week after President Viktor Yushchenko pulled his party out of an alliance with the prime minister’s Tymoshenko Bloc, throwing the country’s Nato bid into question.

Nato declined to grant Ukraine a “membership action plan” at a summit in Bucharest in April but is due to revisit the question in December.

Polls have in recent years consistently indicated that most Ukrainians oppose Nato membership for their country.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko, the icons of the 2004 Orange Revolution, split over how to respond to Russia’s war with Georgia last month as well as the Ukrainian Parliament’s bid to roll back the president’s powers.

Tymoshenko sided with the pro-Moscow opposition in the vote, prompting Yushchenko to complain of a “coup” in Parliament.

Yushchenko has warned against Russian interference in the political crisis and has accused Tymoshenko of committing “high treason” by not supporting Georgia enough. She has rejected the charge, saying she is no Kremlin ally.

European officials have said Ukraine could be the next target for Russian interference because of the country’s large population of Russian-speakers as well as tensions over Russia’s Black Sea fleet, based in a Ukrainian port.—Sapa-AFP


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