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Lavrov: Russia Won't Interfere In Ukraine, Georgia

3 January 2005 -- Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will respect Ukraine's sovereignty after its disputed presidential election and not interfere with Georgia's choice of allies.

Lavrov made his remarks in an interview in today's edition of Germany's "Handelsblatt" newspaper.

He said Ukraine and Georgia should make their own choices concerning joining the European Union and NATO, and that Russia will respect their respective choices.

Lavrov's remarks come after he recently criticized Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, whose country held the rotating EU presidency for the last months of 2004, for saying Ukraine should seek to align itself with the West.

Georgia has plans to eventually join NATO.