Kyiv’s Political Stalemates Complicates Relations With NATO

KIEV, Ukraine -- The ongoing anti-NATO protests in the Crimean city of Feodosiya and their political impact in Kyiv could have been avoided or quickly defused had the parliament moved in time to authorize the entry of troops from NATO countries for joint exercises in Ukraine.

President Viktor Yushchenko submitted the necessary bill in February. However, most parliamentary deputies declined to pass that bill ahead of the March parliamentary elections, even those in favor being mindful of NATO’s negative image with a largely uninformed or misinformed public.

After the March 26 elections, Yushchenko’s political maneuvers delayed the parliament’s opening for two months, and then recessed it into June.

As a net result, there is no legal basis at the moment for the exercises that are planned to be held between June and September. The Feodosiya protesters as well as the Party of Regions and other anti-NATO groups are capitalizing on that deficiency.

In Kyiv, a declaration by the Party of Regions’ parliamentary group describes preparations for a military exercise unauthorized by parliament constitutes a breach of the Constitution and demands the dismissal of Ukrainian officials involved in those preparations.

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