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Kiev Makes Overtures to NATO to Keep Ukraine in the Spotlight

© AFP 2021 / WOJTEK RADWANSKIUkraine's President Petro Poroshenko attends a joint press conference with the NATO Secretary General after a NATO Summit session on Ukraine during the second day of a NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 9, 2016
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko attends a joint press conference with the NATO Secretary General after a NATO Summit session on Ukraine during the second day of a NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
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In an apparent attempt to ensure that the world's powers do not forget about him or his country, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko once again publicly reaffirmed his intention to steer Ukraine towards NATO membership.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a speech on European defence and transatlantic security at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Brussels, Belgium, November 18, 2016. - Sputnik International
Stoltenberg Defends Poroshenko's Wish to Hold Referendum on NATO Membership
Earlier this week, Poroshenko said during an interview with Berliner Morgenpost that he intends to hold a popular vote on the issue of NATO membership, claiming that "NATO is the only functioning collective security organization."

However, th initiative of his is unlikely to produce any tangible results as NATO officials have previously warned Kiev that Ukraine would have to reach a number of criteria to become a member of the alliance, which may take many years to achieve.

Furthermore, NATO does not admit states with existing territorial disputes. Ukraine however continues to stubbornly ignore Crimea's reunification with Russia in 2014 and still attempts to lay claim to the breakaway peninsula.

Therefore, it appears that Poroshenko’s rhetoric is mostly aimed at attracting attention to Ukraine rather than making any real progress towards NATO membership, Vladimir Zharihin, Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS Countries, told RIA Novosti.

"I believe that by making these statements, Poroshenko pursues a singular goal: to return Ukraine to the international context from which it fell out due to global events such as the election of the new President of the United States, the situation in Syria, the crisis in Europe, etc. Therefore many of his statements are merely propaganda and demagogy," Zharihin explained.

He also added that even if Poroshenko holds this vote, it is unlikely to produce any meaningful change in the relations between Ukraine and NATO.

"Holding a referendum wouldn’t affect the prospects of Ukraine joining the NATO. It has been stated on many occasions that Ukraine won’t be accepted into NATO," Zharihim surmised.

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