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Ukraine president wants to join NATO

Aug. 23, 2008 at 7:39 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The president of Ukraine urges its speedy admission to NATO in the wake of Russia's invasion of Georgia.

In an interview with The Times of London, President Viktor Yuschenko said he does not want Ukraine to be the next country targeted by its larger neighbor.

"It is the first time in Europe since the Cold War that a foreign army has entered the territory of a sovereign state without any internationally accepted legal basis," he said. "If we were to be ambivalent about this it would give tacit approval to put our country and our citizens under threat."

NATO holds a summit in December.

"Ukraine has to move towards the NATO alliance," Yushchenko said. "It is the only way for our country to protect our national security and sovereignty. When the borders of NATO expand, so too does the region of

peace and stability."

Yushchenko refrained from direct criticism of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The two men are both veterans of the KGB, although Yushchenko's experience was as a guard on the border between the Soviet Union and Turkey.

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