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:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

ISLAMIC STATE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Japan Quake

Japan Quake

Magnitude 6.8 quake hits central Japan; no tsunami warning.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Mali records new Ebola case, linked to dead nurse.  Full Article 

U.S. in Afghanistan

U.S. in Afghanistan

Obama approves fresh guidelines for U.S. military in Afghanistan.  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

West not expected to demand Iran atom bomb "mea culpa" in deal.  Full Article 

Bahrain Elections

Bahrain Elections

Bahrain holds elections, Shi'ite opposition boycotts vote.  Full Article 

Colombia's FARC

Colombia's FARC

Colombia's Santos says FARC release of hostages will be next week.  Full Article 

Sarkozy Speaks

Sarkozy Speaks

France's Sarkozy wants EU to lose half its powers.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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