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Russian Parliament Threatens Ukraine Over NATO Bid

Russia's parliament wants President Dmitri Medvedev to pull out of a treaty of friendship with Ukraine if Kyiv continues to pursue membership in NATO.

The lower house of parliament, the Duma, approved the non-binding measure Wednesday.

The Russian news agency Interfax says the recommendation calls any further moves by Ukraine to improve ties with the West a "de facto" withdrawal from the treaty.

Russia-Ukraine ties have worsened since Ukraine's 2004 "Orange Revolution" that brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power on a pro-Western slate. Russia has particularly opposed Ukrainian moves toward NATO membership.

Mr. Yushchenko has said his country expects to have better relations with Russia under President Medvedev than under his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.

Last month, Russia and Ukraine sparred over Russia's naval bases for the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.

A senior Russian official said Moscow wants to keep the bases and that it plans to extend its agreement with Ukraine when a lease expires in nine years.

Ukraine officials have said Russia's lease on the base in Sevastopol and other facilities will not be renewed.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.