Updated on 12:49 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) -Calls by some representatives from Ukrainian authorities to change the country’s “non-bloc” status and join NATO are attempts to ruin all efforts aimed at reaching national reconciliation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.
“After contacts on the level of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, after the meeting of presidents of the Customs Union members, Ukraine and representatives of the European Union, after President Putin’s suggestions, it was exactly these moments that there was a feeling of approaches to the beginning of solving concrete problems between Kiev and the militia, and it was at that point that demands were heard from another part of the Kiev authorities on the need to change [the country’s] ‘non-bloc status’ and join NATO. This is a bold attempt to ruin all the efforts directed at starting dialogue with the goal of providing national reconciliation,” Lavrov said during talks with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian government has approved legislation to change the country’s “non-bloc” status and begin efforts to join NATO, introduced in the Ukrainian parliament by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on August 29.
Later on Wednesday, a NATO senior representative told journalists that the alliance has no plans to discuss accepting any new members at its summit on September 4 and 5 in Wales.
However, despite Kiev’s ongoing military operation against independence supporters in eastern Ukraine that has already claimed lives of more than 2,500 civilians, joint Ukraine-NATO military drills are expected to take place later in September
NATO regulations do not allow countries involved in territorial disputes to become members of the organization, currently the case for Ukraine as it refuses to acknowledge Crimea’s reunification with Russia.