Bush Supports Ukraine’s Bid to Join NATO

bushPresident Bush expressed strong support on Tuesday for Ukraine’s ambitions of eventually joining the NATO alliance on the eve of a meeting of NATO leaders in Romania where Ukraine appears likely to be rebuffed.

Beginning a week-long trip through Eastern Europe, Mr. Bush vigorously embraced the long-sought goal of Ukrainian President Viktor A. Yushchenko, whose aspiration for NATO membership faces fierce opposition at home and from Ukraine’s biggest neighbor, Russia.

“Your country has made a bold decision,” Mr. Bush said, seated beside Mr. Yushchenko during his first visit to Ukraine, “and the United States strongly supports your request.”

The NATO meeting, which begins on Wednesday in Bucharest, will consider full membership for three countries, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, and plans for potential membership for Ukraine and Georgia. The latter nations, both former republics of the Soviet Union, have asked to be considered, but their applications have met skepticism within the alliance, as well as open opposition from Russia.

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