NATO entry for Ukraine, Georgia would be geopolitical shift for Russia

Russia doesn’t want "colossal geopolitical shift", which could follow NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia . Russia tries to prevent this situation. They have already warned Kiev , that bilateral relations would become worse after Ukraine ’s joining military alliance.

"We have said more than once that every country has the right to take sovereign decisions on who will be its partner in the international arena," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech before the State Duma, or lower house of parliament.

Ukraine 's pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, who came to office in January 2005 in the wake of Orange Revolution protests after beating his Kremlin-backed opponent, has made NATO membership a top priority for his former Soviet nation of 47 million.

His government hopes to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2008, a prospect that has alarmed Moscow, which is already smarting at the eastward enlargement of the Brussels-based alliance into its former Soviet bloc satellites.

Georgia, a former Soviet Caucasus Mountain state that has allied itself with the United States, is also seeking NATO membership. Both Ukraine and Georgia neighbor Russia .

"We are not dictating to our Ukrainian colleagues how to act, we only consider it necessary to express our attitude toward Ukraine joining NATO," said Andrei Kokoshin, head of the Duma's committee on relations with the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping of 12 ex-Soviet states.

"I am very much surprised with such a decision by the Russian parliament," Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteiko said, reports the AP.


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