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Ukraine abolishes non-aligned status

The Ukrainian parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to abandon the country's non-aligned status, paving the way for it to join military blocs.

With at least 226 votes needed to approve the bill, 303 lawmakers supported the legislation, the parliament's press service said.

The bill, submitted to the parliament by President Petro Poroshenko, said the non-aligned status, declared in 2010, "proved to be ineffective in guaranteeing Ukraine's security and protecting the country from external aggression and pressure."

The new law envisages that Kiev is heading for deepening cooperation with NATO "in order to achieve the criteria which are required for membership in the alliance."

Ukraine and NATO established a partnership in 1991, shortly after Kiev gained its independence from the former Soviet Union.

Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, the country has been closely cooperating with the 28-nation alliance and actively participating in its Partnership for Peace initiatives.

[Source: Xinhua, Kiev, 23Dec14]

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