Kiev – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a constitutional amendment stating that obtaining the NATO and European Union (EU) membership would be the most critical ‘strategic mission’. The European Council President Donald Tusk attended the event as well. The declaration by the Ukrainian Parliament and President Poroshenko for a constitutional amendment is believed to be in retaliation to Russia’s opposition.
In 2014, then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych declared Ukraine a non-bloc country with a ‘non-aligned’ status, refusing to join the NATO. At the same time, he withdrew from signing the ‘Association Agreement’ with the EU. In the anti-government protests later that year, the Yanukovych government was overthrown and Petro Poroshenko, known for his strong anti-Russia stand, became the president. Furthermore, Russia attacked Ukraine and took control of the Crimea.
Given the increasing Russian aggression, President Poroshenko decided to expedite the efforts for NATO membership when he signed the agreement with the EU. The Ukrainian Parliament passed independent legislation to push the process for becoming a NATO member. Thereafter, in 2018, a resolution for the constitutional amendment was presented in the Ukrainian Parliament.
The resolution sought to seek the EU membership and on February 7, the Parliament passed the amendment to the constitution. After that, as he announced of the change in the Ukrainian Parliament, President Poroshenko added that Ukraine would ‘submit a request for EU membership and receive a NATO membership action plan no later than 2023’.
Last November, Russia detained three Ukrainian vessels on patrol and 24 of its crew members. The dispute between the two countries has festered since then. Considering the developments so far, Kiew has accused Moscow of trying to further erode into Ukraine, after taking over Crimea. Ukraine has underscored the deployment of troops and the nuclear ballistic missiles on the eastern Ukrainian border to substantiate their claims.
Therefore, the Ukrainian constitutional amendment is said to be an effort to retaliate against Russian aggression. At the same time, the European Council President Donald Tusk’s presence at the parliament appears to indicate Europe’s support to Ukraine on the issue. Moreover, during his address at the parliament, Tusk declared support for Ukraine’s EU membership and also said that ‘there can be no Europe without Ukraine.’