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  Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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Ukraine's parliamentary speaker appeared to put another dent in his country's ambitions to join NATO Monday
Ukraine's parliamentary speaker appeared to put another dent in his country's ambitions to join NATO Monday when he said the alliance was unable to ensure Europe's security. Oleksandr Moroz's criticism of the bloc came just days after the ex-communist nation decided to shelve a move to accede in 2008. "The NATO structure does not ensure the [security] interests of society in Europe and not only in Europe," he told a news conference in Kiev. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said last week that Kiev remained unready to start implementing an action plan for Ukraine to join NATO. And Moroz told journalists that the premier had only reiterated what was written in a national unity pact proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko to end months of political wrangling in the summer to achieve the formation of a government. The document suggests the nation should vote on NATO accession in a referendum. Moroz, who also leads the Socialists as a minority party in the coalition government, said the international community and Europe in particular were faced with new threats, such as international terrorism, drugs, arms smuggling and illegal migration. And the speaker said new structures to ensure security should be established in these conditions. "New mechanisms to ensure people's security should be developed," he said. Yushchenko said Saturday that his long-term adversary Yanukovych's understanding that the country was unable to join the NATO action plan was wrong and failed to correspond with Ukraine's national interests. The West-leaning president has long promoted his country's accession to the bloc, whereas his new premier, who assumed his duties in August as head of the Party of Regions, has been skeptical. Yanukovych, whose traditional power base is in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, attended a session of the Ukraine-NATO commission in Brussels on Thursday. He said Ukraine remained unready to implement the Action Plan, which highlights Kiev's pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration, on accession to the North Atlantic alliance. In televised comments on Monday, he told Ukrainians in the Luhansk Region, bordering on Russia, that he had stuck to his party's line on accession under the terms of the unity pact. "There were no sensations," the Party of Regions told journalists. "From the very beginning this was not only my position, but the position of the coalition and the party." The Communists are third party in the parliamentary coalition, which also cooperates with some members of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc.
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