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Yanukovych pledges to keep Ukraine out of military alliances

RIA Novosti


KIEV, February 25 (RIA Novosti) - New Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Thursday that Kiev will build relations with both Europe and former Soviet republics, but will not form any military alliances either with NATO or Russia.

"The challenges which the international community faces dictate the need to unite in a larger format. We are ready to participate in this process as a European non-aligned state," Yanukovych said in his inauguration speech in the Ukrainian parliament.

West-leaning ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko bid unsuccessfully to take Ukraine into NATO, an issue that soured relations between Kiev and Moscow.

Yanukovych has repeatedly opposed plans to join NATO, saying the issue must be put to a referendum.

All opinion polls conducted in the ex-Soviet republic show that most Ukrainians are against the country's accession to the bloc.