VIENNA (Reuters) - Germany’s foreign minister does not expect Ukraine to become part of a ‘western alliance’ any time soon, he told an Austrian newspaper on Thursday.
“Like our American partners, I don’t see Ukraine in the western alliance in the foreseeable future,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Austria’s Kurier daily. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was referring to the European Union or NATO.
Steinmeier, who was due to meet Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Thursday, said he agreed with Kurz who has suggested that Ukraine becomes a neutral state, following the post-war Austrian model.
Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, wants to sign the economic part of an association deal with the EU as a step towards full membership. That would be anathema to Moscow which wants to keep Ukraine in its former-Soviet sphere of influence.
Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted by street protests after he rejected a deal with the EU.
Reporting by Michael Shields; Writing by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Stephen Brown