Ukraine's leader says the country's sovereignty could be at risk if it does not become part of NATO.
Victor Yushchenko tells Saturday's edition of The Times newspaper of
London that Russia's military incursion into Georgia has put the peace
and stability of Europe "under threat."
He says an eastward
expansion of NATO is the only way to maintain regional stability and
that NATO membership is vital to his country's security.
Yushchenko says Ukraine cannot afford to respond to Russia's actions
with ambivalence, calling on his country to increase military funding.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has warned Ukraine and Georgia against seeking NATO membership.
week, the Ukrainian president called for talks with Russia on the Black
Sea Fleet's use of a Ukrainian port. He expressed concern that
Russia's use of Sevastopol could inadvertently drag Ukraine into
Russia's conflict with Georgia.
The Ukrainian leader signed an
order last week requiring Russia to seek Ukraine's permission to move
warships to and from the port. Moscow rejected the decree, describing
it as "anti-Russian."
Russia has an agreement to use the
Ukrainian port until 2017, but Ukrainian officials say they want the
Russian fleet to leave when the lease expires.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.