In an effort to reassure Georgia and Ukraine the United States is committed to their security, America's top diplomat is visiting the European nations as Russia continues to assert itself in the region.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, Wednesday to sign new joint military and security agreements that will help Georgian military forces defend their borders.
"Obviously we have great respect for your desires as a country to be able to look to the West and engage with the West without punishment," Kerry said as he met with Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili and his Cabinet members.
Kerry will discuss security matters with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv before joining U.S. President Barack Obama in Poland Friday for a summit of NATO leaders.
NATO member states are expected to reaffirm Georgia's eventual membership.
Georgia and Ukraine are concerned about Russia's activities on their territory and have sought to associate with NATO and the European Union.
Georgia and Russia were at war briefly in 2008 over a Georgian territory that remains under Russian control. Russia also controls an enclave in Ukraine, which is currently fighting Russian backed separatists after Russia's annexation of Crimea two years ago.
A senior official traveling with Kerry said the visits to Georgia and Ukraine are intended to reassure the countries the United States supports their "Euro-Atlantic aspirations" and suggested that Russia should take note.