Ukraine drops NATO bid

MOSCOW, Nov. 26 (UPI) — Ukraine has dropped its application to become a member of NATO, President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday at a news conference in Russia.

Appearing with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Yanukovych said Ukraine has decided to remain a non-aligned country, RIA Novosti reported. Yanukovych said Ukraine hopes to remain a NATO partner while allying itself with Russia as well.

Yanukovych replaced the more Western-oriented Viktor Yushchenko in February. The country applied to join NATO under Yushchenko.

Medvedev praised Ukraine’s decision.

“In our opinion, it is a logical development of events, and we believe that it meets the interests of the existing European security system as well as Russia’s long-term development interests,” Medvedev said.

“We have always maintained a simple view of Ukraine’s accession to NATO — it would destroy European security — it is a sensitive issue for us.”

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