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Yatsenyuk: Ukraine not considering joining NATO

March 06, 20:44 UTC+4 BRUSSELS
“This is not on our radars,” Yatsenyuk told journalists
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Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (R)

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (R)

© EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

BRUSSELS, March 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Parliament-appointed Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said after meeting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday that Ukraine’s entry into NATO was not part of the agenda for Ukraine’s interim government.

“This is not on our radars,” Yatsenyuk told journalists when asked whether the current Ukrainian authorities considered the possibility for Ukraine to join NATO.

However, Yatsenyuk has invited members of NATO Council at the level of ambassadors to hold a meeting in Kiev.

He said he thought cooperation between tumult-stricken Ukraine and NATO was to be expanded and it would be good for Ukraine to get technical assistance from the bloc for improving its defense capabilities and maintaining stability in the region.

Rasmussen, in his turn, hailed the restraint of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the face of a strong pressure, saying that self-possession was a good way to scaling down the tensions.

Earlier on Friday, Yatsenyuk told a news conference in Brussels that Ukraine’s interim government would not resort to military force in the Crimean conflict if the country was not subject to a direct military invasion.

Yatsenyuk, who had met EU leaders ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, said the Ukrainian armed forces “had been subject to repeated provocations with an aim to force them to open fire. However, the military have been showing restraint so long as there is a possibility of a diplomatic settlement.”

Yatsenyuk described the events in Crimea as a direct Russian military aggression and urged Russia not to recognize the Crimean government.

“Crimea has been and will remain an integral part of Ukraine,” he said.

“We are calling on Russia not to recognize the so-called government of Crimea,” Yatsenyuk told a news conference after meeting the leaders of the 28 EU countries who had gathered for an emergency summit in Brussels on Friday.

At the same time, he spoke in favor of a political and diplomatic settlement to the Crimean crisis, having urged Russia to sit down to talks and start real negotiations with an aim to find a peaceful solution.

“We do not want the conflict to be frozen or hot,” Yatsenyuk said, adding the Ukrainian military would act in compliance with Ukraine’s Constitution in case of further escalation or military intervention.

“We are ready to defend our country,” Yatsenyuk stressed.

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