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.