Ukraine’s prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said his country would seek the protection of NATO membership after what Kyiv says is the open participation of Russia’s military in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Some analysts say formal membership remains unlikely, at least in the near future.
But by announcing that he is seeking to join, Yatsenyuk is taking an important step in pursuing Western military protection from what it now describes an an invasion by its neighbour.
Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s ambassador to NATO, said: “Russia’s new aggressive campaign forced everybody to review approaches — that were quite cautious till now — concerning classification of actions of the Russian federation and to identify ways to further support our country.”
NATO denied Ukraine a fast-track to membership six years ago when it tried to cement closer ties with the alliance.
euronews correspondent Anhelina Koriakina said: “The prospect of reconsidering Ukraine’s membership during the current parliament — elected long before the events in Maidan —are really slim.
“Yatsenyuk’s statement looked more like a message to the West, to Ukraine’s neighbour and to the Ukrainian people about possible consequences of Russian aggression.”