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Yanukovych Promises To Keep Ukraine Out Of NATO

Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych, a candidate in Ukraine's upcoming January 17 presidential election, says he will keep the country out of NATO if elected.

Opposition leader Yanukovych was denied the presidency in 2004 on charges of electoral fraud.

The 59-year-old candidate told the newspaper "Komsomolskaya" today that under his leadership, Ukraine will "not aspire to" blocs like NATO or the Collective Security Pact, which is composed of Russia and several ex-Soviet states.

Yanukovychalso said that Russian-speaking Ukrainians, many of whom support him, are subject to a "policy of discrimination" led by current President Viktor Yushchenko.

compiled from agency reports