World Bulletin / News Desk
Ukraine reaffirmed its NATO ambitions Tuesday, with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk saying he hoped the country would become the organization’s 29th member in 2016.
“A day will come and it will be announced Ukraine is the 29th member of NATO,” Yatsenyuk said during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Kiev.
He called for Ukraine’s membership to be approved at next year’s NATO summit in Warsaw.
Stoltenberg promised that NATO would continue to provide Ukraine with “political and practical assistance”. He added: “NATO supports Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity and supports the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
The English-language Ukraine Today website reported that Ukraine wants to build its defenses against a nuclear attack.
“We have never asked for offensive weapons,” Yatsenyuk told the meeting. “But we have to defend our country. We must defend peace, tranquility and stability, in Europe as well. We need defense capabilities against nuclear power."
“Russia spent tens of billions of dollars in order to upgrade its army and [is] intimidating today the entire civilized world.”
Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal in return for international guarantees of its territorial integrity.