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Ukraine's Communists to protest against drive for NATO in Feb

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KIEV, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Communist Party of Ukraine plans to hold a public protest in February against moves by the country's leadership to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the party's press service said.

"The party calls on all patriotic forces and compatriots to join our initiative, and in February, 2008 to take part in an all-Ukrainian protest against the brutal violation by President [Viktor] Yushchenko of the Constitution," the statement said.

A total of 4 million signatures have been received in favor of the protest.

Last week Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko handed a request for Kiev to join NATO's Membership Action Plan to the alliance's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

However, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Saturday that a decision on whether Ukraine should join NATO will only be taken through a referendum.

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