'Ukraine joining NATO could trigger all-out war'
In other developments in Ukraine - the country's steadily paving its way towards NATO membership. Parliament in Kiev has voted to drop the law which forbids the country from joining any military blocs, which has been in force since 2010. Soon after being elected president, Petro Poroshenko said the country would join NATO in the future. Russia has already said that such membership could turn Ukraine into a potential enemy. For more RT is joined by British journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark.
Ukraine votes to drop non-aligned status
Ukraine's parliament has voted to drop the country's non-aligned status and work towards Nato membership
23 December, 2014
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the move "counterproductive" and said it would boost tensions.
Pro-Russian rebels still control large areas of eastern Ukraine
Thousands have been killed and about one million have been displaced by fighting in Ukraine
From Poland -
Polish Defense Minister: Ukraine to be in NATO and EU - it is an inevitable process
Ukraine will be a member of the NATO and the European Union if the country meets alliance standards and if Ukrainian citizens wish this, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said on Tuesday in an interview with Polish radio station Radio Zet.
23 December, 2014
"The declaration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on canceling the non-aligned status [of Ukraine] is very important,” Siemoniak said.
“I think, it was the first step, and we will wait for the time when Ukraine becomes a member of NATO," the minister said.
"NATO should be open to new members, and to Ukraine in particular," he said, according to Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
"Ukraine must comply with the standards, but Ukrainian society should also seek membership of NATO. Nobody in the world has the right to stop it. I think it is an inevitable process, and Ukraine will be in NATO and the EU."
In addition, the Polish Defense Minister praised the role of the President of Belarus in the negotiations to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, but said it was very early to talk of the Euro-Atlantic integration of Belarus, as this is a question of the democracy and human rights.
"The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko sees the direction of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's policy, and such countries as Kazakhstan and Belarus could be afraid that they will be the next victims after Ukraine," he said.
As reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine may contribute to the development of relations between Belarus and the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership.
Russia's reasonable response to this
Ukraine’s NATO Choice Rhetoric Directly Harms European Security: Diplomat
23 December, 2014
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov stated that even the talk of Ukraine's NATO choice harms pan-European security and is intended to undermine its principal foundation.
"I'm convinced that even the talk of Ukraine's NATO choice directly harms pan-European security and is intended to undermine its principal foundations," he said.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) passed a bill to drop the country's non-aligned status, confirming Kiev's intention to join NATO.
“We should speak not of expanding blocs inherited from the Cold War, but of creating a system in Europe under which every state would feel comfortable, safe and could to concentrate on positive agenda,” the diplomat said.
Ukraine's non-aligned status was established by a 2010 law signed by then-president Viktor Yanukovych and stipulating that Ukraine would not seek membership of military-political alliances.
However, the new Kiev authorities have renewed the drive toward NATO membership since the outbreak of an armed conflict in the country's southeast, a conflict they have blamed on a military intervention by Russia.
In August, the Ukrainian government said the non-aligned status did not guarantee the country’s security and reaffirmed its plans to join the 28-member military bloc.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly warned Kiev that a neutral status was in the best interests of the Ukrainian people, their neighbors and Europe.
Ukraine's NATO bid has prompted a mixed reaction from the alliance, with majority of NATO officials saying the country was not ready to join the bloc, and urging Kiev to implement a wide range of reforms before pursuing NATO membership