Ukraine’s joining NATO would severely affect the Russian-Ukrainian relations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said, according to Itar-Tass.

He said at a hearing in the State Duma lower house of parliament on Tuesday that Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would “entail a deep crisis in the Russian-Ukrainian relations”.

“This crisis will also affect in the most adverse way the pan-European security too. So the West should make a strategic choice. The issue is utterly straight – what relations with Russia answer the Western interests. I think imposing on Ukraine the role of a buffer between Europe and Russia means belittling significance of Ukraine. It is by far more constructive to build together the relations with the world around, including with European countries, all the more so that Russia and Ukraine are an indispensable part of Europe, European culture, policy and economy,” Karasin said.