For certain countries NATO membership has become a fixed idea, while other countries are rather skeptical regarding the military abbreviation.

Some days ago special representative of the Russian president on ballistic missiles defense Dmitiy Rogozin cheerfully reported that Russia managed to achieve that Ukraine is not a NATO member and that Georgia is not a NATO member. According to him, Russia did not cave in as well during the talks on ballistic missiles defense.

As a reminder, at the beginning of April 2008 Bucharest summit of NATO decided that Ukraine and Georgia can become NATO members after fulfillment of necessary conditions. At the end of 2008 Ukraine expected to get NATO Action Plan for membership, but foreign ministers of NATO counties refused to give it.

Taking this into account, on July 1, 2010 Ukraine's parliament adopted the law on domestic and foreign policy, providing for non-aligned status of Ukraine. The norm on Ukraine's integration into NATO was excluded from the article of priorities of national interests, and in April 2011 President Viktor Yanukovych approved the Annual national program on Ukraine-NATO cooperation for 2011.
ForUm asked experts whether Russia really managed to do what Rogozin said and whether the NATO doors are now closed.

Volodymyr Kornilov, director of the Ukrainian branch of CIS Institute:

- Russia played nothing less than important role, if not the leading one, in this matter. We clearly understand why Germany and France blocked Ukraine's membership in NATO.

It is not a secret that German and French diplomats, as well as of other countries, did not want to spoil relations with Russia.

Gennadiy Udovenko, former foreign minister (1994-98):

- Rogozin is a well-known Russian diplomat and belongs to a group of anti-Ukrainian hawks.

Russia wants to resurrect USSR in any form, and many Russian officials, including Rogozin, want to be a part of neo-Russian imperialistic course, worshiped by the Russian authorities.

Do we have chances to obtain NATO membership? Well, now we have the law on non-aligned status of Ukraine, but we do not have large army to defend this status. It means that the issue on country's security is open.

Oleksandr Paliy, expert:

- There is nothing better than NATO regarding security sphere for now. That's why membership in this organization would be optimal decision for short-term and long-term perspective. But Russia has really managed to prevent this membership.

NATO for us is an opportunity to find a solution, and the cheap one, of the key matter of the national security, and consequently to improve investment attractiveness of the country. The poorest countries among NATO members are Bulgaria and Albania, but still they have bigger GDP per capita than Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities voluntarily refused from NATO membership, having passed the non-aligned status. To my opinion, such decision limits the possibility of maneuvers on the political arena, and of course it is in Russia's interests. 

The decision on non-aligned status must be based on country's capacity to solve security issues independently. There are maximum five countries in the world, which can do it, and Ukraine, unfortunately, is not among them, especially after nuclear disarmament. At the same time NATO allows such small countries, as Belgium for example with its two military battalions, to feel secured.
I believe that a number of Russian politicians were given medals for preventing Ukraine from entering NATO, and a number of Ukrainian politicians were promised a life of ease.

Serhiy Zgurets, expert of the Center on army and armament research:

Last year Ukraine adopted the law on non-aligned status, but I doubt it was a success of Mr Rogozin. The matter is that Ukraine's authorities believe it is the best decision for now, and it has nothing to do with Rogozin.

Regarding the national security, well, it is difficult to provide it with minimal budget Ukraine now spends for defense, and may be the financing from some military bloc could have been an optimal decision.

Anyway, there is a law on non-aligned status, and until it is canceled by the parliament it is inappropriate to talk about any terms of Ukraine's membership in NATO.

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