Rada restores Ukraine's course for NATO membership as foreign policy priority
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed a law strengthening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO with the aim of eventually joining the military alliance.
Corresponding bill No. 6470 on amending some legislative acts on the foreign policy of Ukraine was supported by 276 people's deputies at the plenary session on Thursday, the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.
The bill says one of the pillars of Ukraine's foreign policy will be deepening cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in order to become a member.
The bill's author is Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy.
The document envisages amendments to the July 1, 2010 law on the main principles of Ukraine's domestic and foreign policy and the June 19, 2003 law on the main principles of the country's national security.
"With the help of this bill, we are going to effectively restore the June 19, 2003 version of the law on the foundations of Ukraine's national policy. The Verkhovna Rada has finally gathered up the courage to renew the course toward membership in NATO without any phrases that it is necessary to reach the criteria for membership in NATO," Borys Tarasiuk, a Batkivschyna faction deputy and a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs, said during the parliamentary debate on the initiative.
This course was cancelled during Viktor Yanukovych's presidency, and in 2014 parliament voted for a "watered-down version [of the bill] on the course toward membership in NATO," he said.
An explanatory note to the bill said that Ukraine's "non-aligned status, which was documented in the law on the main principles of the country's domestic and foreign policy, turned out to be inefficient in the context of the need to ensure the state's security against external aggression and pressure."