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.”