Ukrainians remain opposed to NATO membership - survey
17/03/2008 16:18 KIEV, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Only 11.1% of Ukrainians polled in a survey published on Monday said they supported the country's drive to join NATO, while almost 36% said they would vote against the plans if a referendum were held.
However, only 11.5% of respondents to the survey carried out by the All-Ukrainian Social Service said they supported the idea of holding a referendum on the issue.
Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said previously that a decision on whether Ukraine should take up any future NATO offer to join the alliance would only be taken after a nationwide referendum.
The survey was conducted from February 27 to March 8 and involved 2,500 respondents from all regions of the ex-Soviet country. The statistical margin of error was 2.5%.
In January, Ukraine's pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and Parliamentary Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to the alliance's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer requesting that the country join the NATO Membership Action Plan.
However, the opposition Party of Regions led by former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and the Communist Party, blocked parliament's work for over a month in protest against the move, saying Ukraine must not pursue NATO membership without a referendum.
Parliament reopened for work on March 6 after a deal was reached to approve a special resolution saying Ukraine's could not join NATO without a referendum.
Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has threatened to re-target nuclear missiles toward Ukraine if it joins the Western military alliance. The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia is also seeking membership in the organization.
Some Western states remain cautious over the two countries' NATO bids, unwilling to further provoke Russia, which is wary of the alliance's ongoing eastward expansion.