World

Ukraine's president signs bill dropping nonaligned status; won't seek NATO membership yet

  • Ukrainian army soldiers pose for photo with volunteers at a check point in Debaltsevo, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Ukraine Sunday, Dec 28, 2014. Volunteer groups across Ukraine are raising funds and buying equipment for soldiers fighting in the east of the country against pro-Russian separatists and often delivering the supplies directly to the soldiers themselves. In Kiev alone, some 30 volunteer groups involve several thousand people. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Ukrainian army soldiers pose for photo with volunteers at a check point in Debaltsevo, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Ukraine Sunday, Dec 28, 2014. Volunteer groups across Ukraine are raising funds and buying equipment for soldiers fighting in the east of the country against pro-Russian separatists and often delivering the supplies directly to the soldiers themselves. In Kiev alone, some 30 volunteer groups involve several thousand people. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Dec 29, 2014. Poroshenko on Monday signed a bill dropping his country's nonaligned status but signaled that he will hold a referendum before seeking NATO membership. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Dec 29, 2014. Poroshenko on Monday signed a bill dropping his country's nonaligned status but signaled that he will hold a referendum before seeking NATO membership. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • El presidente de Ucrania, Petro Poroshenko, durante una conferencia de prensa en Kiev, el lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014. (Foto AP/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    El presidente de Ucrania, Petro Poroshenko, durante una conferencia de prensa en Kiev, el lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014. (Foto AP/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

The Ukrainian president has signed a bill dropping his country's nonaligned status but signaled that he will hold a referendum before seeking NATO membership.

Petro Poroshenko told a news conference on Monday that he is working to reform the Ukrainian economy and its military forces to meet European Union and NATO standards, but he will leave it up to Ukrainian citizens to decide whether to join NATO or not.

Ukraine's parliament last week abandoned the nonaligned position, and Poroshenko signed that bill into the law at the news conference on Monday.

Although Ukraine's prospects for membership in the near term appear dim anyway, Russia has reacted angrily to the move, calling it a threat to its own and Europe's security.