Poland, Lithuania eye military tie-up with Ukraine

BRUSSELS Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:36am IST

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland and Lithuania want to forge military cooperation with Ukraine to try to bring the former Soviet republic closer to NATO, Polish officials said.

Under the plan, the three countries would form a brigade that could participate in international peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Union or NATO.

"This reflects our support for Ukraine. We want to tie Ukraine closer to Western structures, including military ones," Poland's Deputy Defence Minister Stanislaw Komorowski told reporters in Brussels after signing a letter of intent.

"This is also proof that Ukraine is taking seriously its desire for closer cooperation with members of the EU and NATO," he said.

Eventual membership for Ukraine in NATO is a key issue in difficult relations between the Western military alliance and Russia after NATO's pledge to admit the former Soviet republic, as well as Georgia, greatly angered Moscow.

The move by Poland and Lithuania, both of which are EU members, comes two days before an EU summit with Russia aimed at increasing cooperation with Moscow.

It also comes ahead of a visit in December to Moscow by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has made boosting ties with Russia a top priority since taking over the NATO helm in August.

While the latest move could further anger Russia, a NATO spokesman welcomed the Polish-Lithuanian plan, saying cooperation could build up trust and capabilities.

"There is absolutely no reason why cooperation between individual allies and Ukraine should not be stepped up. If extra capability was made available for NATO operations that can only be welcome by the alliance," James Appathurai said.

NATO and Russia resumed formal cooperation on broad security threats after ties were frozen as a result of Russia's military intervention last August in Georgia, another former Soviet republic Russia sees as part of its sphere of influence.

FILED UNDER:

Coordinated Assault

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage