Russia Wants Obama To Drop Nato Membership For Ukraine Georgia

01.20.09 | FL News Team

Russia wants the Obama administration to put an end to the "anti-Russian" policy of placing Ukraine and Georgia on the fast track towards NATO membership. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says the policy destabilized Ukraine and ignited last summer's war in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.

European states led by France and Germany blocked a U.S. petition at a NATO summit last year to grant Ukraine and Georgia a swift route towards membership. Officials said neither country was ready and granting them membership would unnecessarily provoke Moscow.  Russia considers the ex-Soviet countries as part of its sphere of influence.

Russian officials say U.S. military aid to Georgia was taken by the country's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili as a sign of encouragement ahead of its attack on South Ossetia. The attack was repelled by Russian forces.Geogia maintains it acted in self-defense, claiming separatists had intensified shelling of Georgian villages and accusing Russia of sending in artillery to support them.