Ukraine's leadership decision not to continue NATO membership policy should bring relief to many western capitals, as well as Russia, Guardian writes.

NATO membership was pursued, with the enthusiastic support of the Bush administration and the Labour government in Britain, by the pro-western former president Viktor Yushchenko. This was despite a lack of enthusiasm inside Ukraine and concern by some Nato members.

Ukraine was considered a potential Nato partner along with Georgia. Concern in many Nato countries increased in 2008 when Russia responded with military force to a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, an enclave in Georgia.

At a summit in Bucharest in April 2008, alliance leaders agreed that Ukraine "will become a Nato member" in the future, but added that it was up to the Ukrainian people and their elected leaders to determine the country's path.

Since then, most Nato countries, including the US and Britain, have realised membership of Ukraine and Georgia would provoke conflict, notably with Russia. This month, the Albright report on Nato's new strategic concept made no mention of prospective Ukrainian membership of the alliance, the newspaper reports.

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