Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ukraine and NATO

The goings on regarding NATO and Ukraine get more convoluted everyday. Initially Germany and France made their concerns known fearing repercussions on a number of fronts as per The Independent:

"Mr Brown joined Germany and France in urging caution on the US President at the summit in Bucharest in a "brush by" meeting with Mr Bush at the summit before a formal banquet. Mr Brown made it clear he supports the granting of Nato's membership action plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine in principle, but he will not be pressing for it to be agreed at this summit.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's incoming president, warned this week that granting Nato membership to the two former Soviet republics could threaten European security.

Both the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who are attending the summit, oppose immediate granting of MAP status to the two states, which would ultimately result in Nato guaranteeing to come to their aid if they were attacked."

Now however the tide seems to have turned according to Kommersant:

"The NATO-Ukrainian commission sits in Bucharest Friday, RIA Novosti reported. The alliance partnership with Ukraine is firm, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made clear when opening the event.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called the NATO move historic. NATO softened yesterday the refusal to grant MAP to Ukraine and Georgia. The alliance pledged to invite two nations in future, adding that Moscow would have no influence on the membership decisions of NATO.

It was clearly said at the summit that Ukraine will become NATO member, Yushchenko announced. Of all states, Ukraine is the only one that takes part in all operations of the alliance without being its member, the president reminded, confirming, however, that Ukraine won’t host military bases as it is prohibited by the constitution."

Living in the U.S. one would hardly know that Bush was in Kiev, let alone that he was hardly greeted with open arms during the past week. Media With Conscience reports on preparations for GWBs visit:

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Ukraine's capital to dencounce Washington and Nato ahead of a visit by George Bush, the US president. Bush is visiting Kiev before this week's Nato summit in Romania, where Ukrainian officials hope to win approval for the first step in their country's bid to join the military alliance.

Around 5,000 protesters, comprised mainly of Communists and other left-wing groups, massed in Independence Square before moving off to the US embassy as police looked on.

Many waved flags and placards saying "Bush out of Ukraine" and "Yankee go home" as Soviet-era songs blared in the background."

To get a real flavor of Ukrainian reaction this video on Kommersant is informative even if you don't speak Russian, the anti-Bush banner is priceless as my credit card would say.


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