February 14, 2008
The Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has promised to pass a law outlawing Nato military bases on his country’s territory just a day after Vladimir Putin had threatened to point nuclear missiles at Ukraine if the country joined the alliance.
Last month Mr Yushchenko and Ukraine’s pro-Western Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, the pair who led the Orange Revolution in 2004, asked Nato to begin considering Ukrainian membership – a move hugely controversial among a large section of the Ukrainian population and strongly criticised by Moscow.
After meeting the Ukrainian leader on Tuesday, Mr Putin said that Nato membership could well mean that Nato military bases or elements of a planned US missile shield would be placed in Ukraine, and that Russia would be forced to respond. “I am not only terrified to utter this, it is scary even to think it,” said Mr Putin. “Russia would have to target its offensive rocket systems at Ukraine.”