Ukraine lawmakers vote to drop ‘non-aligned’ status; pave way for NATO bid

Ukraine lawmakers vote to drop ‘non-aligned’ status; pave way for NATO bid

[Ed. – Not what Putin had in mind when he seized Crimea.]

Ukraine took a historic step toward NATO on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote that stoked Russia’s anger ahead of talks on ending the ex-Soviet state’s separatist war.

Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine’s non-aligned status — a classification assumed by states that refuse to join military alliances and thus play no part in wars.

President Petro Poroshenko had vowed to put Ukraine under Western military protection after winning an election called in the wake of the February ouster in Kiev of a Moscow-backed president.

“European and Euro-Atlantic integrations — that is Ukraine’s single course,” Poroshenko tweeted moments after the 303-8 vote. …

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Kiev “put an end to confrontation” and stop adopting “absolutely counterproductive” measures that only stoked tensions between the two sides.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said even more bluntly that “in essence, an application for NATO membership will turn Ukraine into a potential military opponent for Russia.”

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