Pro-Russian Ukrainian Bloc Has 4.5 Million Anti-NATO Signatures
<div class="caption"><div class="watermark"> <a href="http://gdb.rferl.org/1149C385-D3B5-4D0A-93CA-2121D2F4E540_mw800_mh600.jpg" rel="ibox" title="President Viktor Yushchenko wants Ukraine to join NATO (file photo) (epa)"> <img alt="President Viktor Yushchenko wants Ukraine to join NATO (file photo) (epa)" src="http://gdb.rferl.org/1149C385-D3B5-4D0A-93CA-2121D2F4E540_w203.jpg" class="photo" border="0"></a></div><p>President Viktor Yushchenko wants Ukraine to join NATO (file photo) (epa)</p></div>1 March 2006 -- A pro-Russian, Ukrainian opposition bloc said today that it has collected more than 4.5 million signatures for a referendum against joining NATO.
Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the bloc "Ne Tak," said that all documents had been delivered to the central election commission.
The move by the opposition bloc reflects the feeling of many Ukrainians, particularly in the Russian-speaking east, who have a negative attitude toward the alliance.
Medvedchuk, the former head of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's administration, said last October that his bloc had started collecting signatures for a referendum to let voters decide whether or not Ukraine should join NATO.
President Viktor Yushchenko's pro-Western policies and his call for NATO membership have become issues in the runup to parliamentary elections on 26 March.