WASHINGTON, December 23 (Sputnik) — Ukraine's membership in NATO is not being considered by the alliance amid Kiev's recent bid to drop its non-aligned status, a senior US administration official told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
"NATO membership for Ukraine is not under consideration by the Alliance at this time, nor has Ukraine made such a request," the senior US administration official said.
The Ukrainian parliament passed a bill on Tuesday cancelling the country's non-aligned status and confirming Kiev's determination to join NATO. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the results of the vote.
"Any decision on potential NATO membership for Ukraine is one for NATO and Ukraine, and the United States supports the right of Ukrainians to make their own decisions about the future of their country free from any outside interference," the senior official underscored.
"We firmly support NATO's Open Door policy," the official went on by saying. "The Alliance, on a consensus basis, invites nations when they are ready and can contribute to security in the North Atlantic area."
Ukraine's non-aligned status was established by a 2010 law signed by then-president Viktor Yanukovych and stipulating that Ukraine would not seek membership of military-political alliances.
But the new Kiev authorities have now renewed the drive toward NATO membership following 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 a neutral status was 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 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.