Ukraine wants to seek NATO membership: PM

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday that his government is mulling to join NATO and is submitting a relevant bill to Parliament to end it's official 'non-bloc' policy, AFP reported.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 16:29 PM IST
Ukraine wants to seek NATO membership: PM

Kiev: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday that his government is mulling to join NATO and is submitting a relevant bill to Parliament to end it's official 'non-bloc' policy, AFP reported.

"The government is entering a bill to Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) about the cancellation of Ukraine's non-bloc status and resumption of Ukraine's course for NATO membership,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister further said that the bill will be sent to MPs urging that Ukraine's non-bloc status be cancelled.

Yatsenyuk's remarks come as NATO envoys are due to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine today.

The West has stepped up its accusations of direct Russian involvement in the conflict, following advances by pro-Russian rebels.

On Thursday NATO released satellite images it said showed Russian forces inside Ukraine. and said more than 1,000 troops were operating there.

Russia, however, denied sending troops.

Nearly 2,600 people have been killed since April, the UN says, when Russia's annexation of Crimea prompted the rebels to take control of large parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the far east of the country.

Russian President today called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

"I'm calling on insurgents to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian troops who were surrounded in order to avoid senseless deaths," Putin said in the statement published on the Kremlin's web-site in the early hours today.

Putin did not address the claims about Russia's military presence in Ukraine. Instead, he lauded the pro-Russian separatists whom he described as "insurgents" for "undermining Kiev's military operation which threatened lives of the residents of Donbass and has already led to a colossal death toll among civilians."

Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops, and Western powers accused Moscow of lying about its role and dangerously escalating the conflict.