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Russian State Duma slams Ukraine's moves to join NATO

Written by: Staff
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Moscow, June 7 (UNI) Russia's lower house of parliament, the state Duma, today passed a resolution condemning Ukraine's move to join the NATO, saying that the move was a threat to the relations between the two countries.

All the 435 members present voted in favour of the resolution with one abstention.

''With due respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, the deputies of the State Duma cannot but confirm their extremely negative attitude towards such plans and believe that Ukraine's joining NATO contradicts the agreement on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Russia and Ukraine dating from 1997 that states the strategic nature of Russian-Ukrainian relations,'' the resolution which was sent to Ukraine's parliament, the Supreme Rada, said.

''The deputies of the State Duma are deeply concerned over the recent dangerous development of events in Crimea, which seriously threaten traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Ukraine,'' it noted.

Anti-NATO protests have rocked Crimea, a region on the Black Sea, after a US cargo vessel was called at the port of Feodosia in late May ahead of an exercise -- Sea Breeze-2006 -- with the United States. Many assumed the move was part of Kiev's bid to join the western alliance.

The joint exercises with NATO are scheduled to start on June 12 and 200 American marines have reportedly already arrived to prepare for the manoeuvres.

Addressing the parliament, ahead of the vote, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said plans by the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO could lead to a colossal shift in global geopolitics.

''We are trying to foresee the consequences of this move, primarily from the viewpoint of Russia's national security and economic interests and relations with these countries,'' Lavrov said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on June 2 said that a new parliamentary coalition would spell out the country's relations with NATO, as the current version of a mooted coalition agreement mentioned a proactive policy on Ukraine's reapprochement with it but notion integration.

UNI XC PM PC1853

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