UNITED NATIONS, December 23 (Sputnik) — Ukraine's decision to scrap its non-aligned status is its sovereign right, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General, said on Tuesday.
"Looking at the [Ukrainian Parliament's] vote itself, I don't want to predict what will happen or may not happen, the secretary general notes that Ukraine just like any other UN member states has the sovereign right to decide on its own future," Dujarric stated in answer to a question by RIA Novosti.
Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday passed a bill abolishing the country's non-aligned status. The bill was brought before the parliament by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Ukraine's non-aligned status was established by a 2010 law signed by then-president Viktor Yanukovych and stipulated that Ukraine would not seek membership of military-political alliances.
However, the new Kiev authorities have renewed the drive toward NATO membership since the outbreak of an armed conflict in the country's southeast, a conflict they have blamed on a military intervention by Russia.
In August, the Ukrainian government said the non-aligned status did not guarantee the country’s security and reaffirmed its plans to join the 28-member military bloc.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly warned Kiev that neutral status is in the best interests of the Ukrainian people, their neighbors and Europe.
Ukraine's NATO bid has prompted a mixed reaction from the alliance, with the majority of NATO officials saying the country was not ready to join the bloc, and urging Kiev to implement a wide range of reforms before pursuing NATO membership.