Georgia, Ukraine ready to join NATO - Ukrainian defense minister

Other News Materials 5 June 2008 23:27 (UTC +04:00)
Georgia,   Ukraine ready to join NATO - Ukrainian defense minister

Georgia and Ukraine are ready to join NATO, the Ukrainian defense minister said on Thursday at a military base in eastern Georgia while on a two-day visit to the South Caucasus country.

"As regards military training, Georgia and Ukraine are already ready to join the alliance," Yuriy Yekhanurov told journalists, the RIA Novosti reported.

At a summit in Bucharest in April, NATO members decided to postpone offering Ukraine and Georgia membership of the alliance's Membership Action Plan (MAP) but promised to review the decision in December. The ex-Soviet republics had received strong U.S. backing for their bids.

On Wednesday, during talks with his Georgian counterpart, David Kezerashvili, Yekhanurov said military and technical cooperation could expand between the two former Soviet republics.

Yekhanurov was also due to meet today with President Mikheil Saakashvili and a number of other high-ranking officials.

The Russian parliament issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Ukraine's accession to NATO would unilaterally terminate the bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, signed in 1997.

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, adopted the statement to bring Ukraine's 'unfriendly' policies to the attention of the country's leadership.

The Kremlin threatened in February to target nuclear missiles at Ukraine if Kiev joins NATO and allows Western military facilities on its territory.