Panic For Putin As Ukraine Push To JOIN EU And NATO - 'We Want Euro-Atlantic Integration’

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine and Russia remain, unofficially, at war, with fighting continuing at Ukraine's borderlands on the edge of Europe.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is continuing to push for control over the contested eastern parts of Ukraine and Crimea, where Russian identity is highest.

But in a blow to the Kremlin, Ukraine has looked west and is working towards greater influence in the eurosphere, receiving financial backing an military aid in return from the EU and the United States. 

After becoming an EU associate member in 2014, Ukraine is now pushing for full membership of not just the bloc but also NATO - one of the Kremlin’s fiercest rivals.

This week Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would hold a referendum on his country's membership both groups - claiming the country needed more “Euro-Atlantic integration”.

He said: "Today there is every reason to assert and believe that the hardest thing is over. We are firmly on course for a Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Mr Poroshenko did not announce a date for either poll but said they would take place “in the foreseeable future”.

NATO membership, even if supported by a national referendum, remains unlikely for Ukraine.

The organisation does not accept countries with unresolved territorial conflicts, ruling Ukraine out due to the situation on its border and in Crimea.

EU membership is also unlikely given Brussels’ already-numerous internal issues.

EU leaders are unlikely to want to add to this by taking on a fight against Russia - especially after already securing a free trade and free movement agreement with Ukraine.

It comes after Theresa May said there was “a huge amount of potential” in eastern Europe before highlighting the danger posed by Russia.

Speaking at the Eastern Partnership summit last month, Mrs May said the UK would continue to focus on the importance of European unit and security even after Brexit.

She said: “From agriculture in Ukraine to the tech sector in Belarus – there is a huge amount of potential in the Eastern neighbourhood that we should nurture and develop. 

“But we must also be open-eyed to the actions of hostile states like Russia which threaten this potential and attempt to tear our collective strength apart. “This summit highlights the crucial importance of the European countries working together to protect our shared values and ideals. The UK may be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe, and we are unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.”

Source: Sunday Express