Senior Russian official says NATO behind Ukraine's move to drop its nonaligned status

A Russian deputy defense minister says NATO members pushed Ukraine toward dropping its nonaligned status.

Ukraine's parliament abandoned the nonaligned position Tuesday, possibly paving the way for a bid to join NATO, in defiance of Russia's protests.

The move doesn't guarantee that Ukraine will apply to join the alliance and its prospects for membership in the near term appear dim anyway. With a war against pro-Russian separatists in the east and its economy in shambles, Ukraine has much to overcome to achieve the stability that the alliance seeks in its members.

Despite that, Moscow strongly protested the Ukrainian parliament move. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday unidentified NATO members had pushed Ukraine to make the move in a bid to turn it into a "forward line for confronting Russia."