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Iran Press TV

Russia warns Ukraine against NATO membership

Iran Press TV

Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:6PM GMT

Russia has warned conflict-stricken Ukraine against joining the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), underscoring that such a measure would only aggravate regional tensions.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Moscow on Tuesday that Kiev's recent announcement about joining NATO will 'further escalate' the situation in Ukraine, adding, 'This will not ensure security in Ukraine and will not improve the Ukrainian people's life."

"This is the result of illusions that Ukrainian leaders and many people in the West live in; the illusions that the geopolitical Western game is all about, with no concern about people's lives," Ryabkov said, adding, "I regret that these leaders are enthralled by such illusions."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in Kiev on Monday that the East European country will decide whether to join NATO in a referendum to be staged in several years' time.

"We have worked out an intense plan for the next six years, so that the country meets the criteria to join the EU and to join NATO.... And only then the Ukrainian people will decide on joining or not joining, in a referendum," Poroshenko said.

Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,300 people have been killed in the fighting. In addition, nearly a million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse neighboring Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegations as baseless.

MP/HMV/SS



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