KIEV (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Tuesday there was no link between bids by ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia to begin the process of joining NATO and plans to deploy a U.S. missile defense system in Europe.
“That is a misperception,” Bush said after talks in Kiev. “I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP (Membership Action Plans) and there’s no tradeoffs. Period.”
Bush said he had made that clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia opposes the bid by both ex-Soviet states to seek long-term NATO membership and has also criticized U.S. plans to deploy interceptor rockets and a radar in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Reporting by Susan Cornwell, Writing by Ron Popeski