One third of Ukraine’s population is against joining NATO, so the decision to reflect the country’s NATO aspirations in the constitution will lead to a social rift, the chairman of the Opposition Platform - For Life party’s Political Council, Viktor Medvedchuk, said in a NewsOne TV channel broadcast on Saturday.
"Today, [the course toward joining] NATO is supported by 42% of the population, or by 44% at best. About 34-36% are against. What about the people who oppose it? What about those who favor a non-aligned status? How can we speak about social harmony here? There will be a social rift, and this rift will lead to disintegration," he said.
Medvedchuk went on to say that he respected the choice of Ukrainians, who wanted their country to join NATO, but at the same time urged them to respect those who had made a different choice.
"Today, views of a certain social group are being imposed on the whole society," he said, adding that such policies may lead to disastrous consequences.
The current Ukrainian authorities, which came to power following the February 2014 state coup, have been seeking NATO membership and close cooperation with the EU. However, no officials from the EU or NATO promised that the country would be granted accession. In late January, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said that there was no consensus among NATO members on Ukraine’s membership.
Poroshenko regularly makes statements about the need for Ukraine to join the European Union and NATO. In November 2018, he submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), which enshrines the country’s course toward integration with the EU and NATO in the constitution. The parliament has already passed the first reading of the bill. However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said back in 2016 that Ukraine would not be able to become an EU and NATO member in the next 20-25 years.
On February 21, a law ensuring Ukraine’s course for EU and NATO integration has entered force, signed by President Pyotr Poroshenko on February 19. According to the law, the preamble to Ukraine’s Constitution now mentions "the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic course".