Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday bemoaned the timing of an April 6 referendum in the Netherlands on a treaty on closer ties between the European Union and Ukraine saying it comes as Europe is debating its own future.

 

“The real purpose for the internal Dutch discussion is about the future of the European Union and internal political clashes,” Poroshenko told a news conference at the end of a nuclear security summit in Washington.

 

“I think this is very dangerous for a country … to become the victim of this discussion. This is not a timely referendum.”

 

The referendum is not binding, but most Dutch parties have said they would respect a rejection by voters, which could plunge the European Union into crisis when tensions with Russia run higher than at any time since the Cold War.

 

 

Poroshenko met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the sidelines of the nuclear summit in Washington where the issues was discussed.

 

 

Campaigners have argued that an association agreement with Ukraine would lead eventually to full membership for Kiev.

 

The European Union, along with the United States, imposed economic sanctions on Russia in July 2014, targeting its energy, banking and defense sectors.

 

Sanctions expire in July and can be extended. But countries with a closer relationship with Russia including Cyprus, Italy and Hungary could argue that if Ukraine is not abiding by the Minsk peace deal, the process no longer holds.

 

Reuters