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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016

    NATO Ex-Chief: Russia Could Defeat Ukraine in 'Several Days'

    © REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
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    It would take Russia just a few days to defeat Ukraine, NATO’s former secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview on Wednesday.

    "It would take Russian troops several days to overrun Ukraine," Rasmussen told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper.

    Ukraine dropped its non-aligned status in 2014, opening the door for potential NATO membership. The following year, President Petro Poroshenko signed a military doctrine stipulating the need to match NATO standards by 2020 and promised a referendum on accession.

    Despite Kiev’s efforts, NATO officials have repeatedly stressed that the Eastern European nation needed to implement a wide range of reforms before pursuing the Alliance’s membership.

    On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Austrian ORF broadcaster that Ukraine’s neutral military status is important for Russia’s security, but it is the Ukrainians, who ultimately have to decide whether the country should become a member of Alliance.

    Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, NATO has been boosting its presence in Eastern Europe citing Russia's alleged interference in Kiev’s internal conflict as justification for their actions.

    In turn, Moscow has repeatedly denied the unsubstantiated allegations of involvement in Ukraine, warning that amassing troops and military equipment on its borders is a provocative action that violates past NATO pledges, and can lead to regional and global destabilization.

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    Tags:
    membership, military, conflict, security, analysis, NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Ukraine, Russia
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