KIEV, February 7. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has endorsed a statement asking NATO to initiate the procedure to grant Kiev membership in the alliance. The decision was backed by 243 lawmakers on Thursday, with the required minimum of 226 votes.
“The Verkhovna Rada asks NATO, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the national parliaments of the NATO member-countries to promptly initiate the formal mutually legally binding procedure for granting Ukraine membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),” the document reads. The parliament asked to initiate this procedure in accordance with the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on April 4, 1949.
Earlier on Thursday, the Verkhovna Rada approved the amendments to the Constitution enshrining Kiev’s policy aimed at joining the European Union and NATO.
US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said in late January that the alliance was divided over Ukraine’s membership. He stressed that NATO membership required not only military reform but also a strong and viable democracy, good relations with neighbors, interoperability with the alliance and civilian control of the military. He noted though that Washington supported Ukraine’s membership in the alliance, and its stance remained unchanged.
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