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Russia Warns NATO On Expansion

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk at a NATO-Ukraine meeting in December (file photo) (official website) April 27, 2006 -- Russia's Foreign Ministry warned Russia might have to reorient its military capabilities and its military and industrial relationships if Georgia and Ukraine join NATO.

The comments, by Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin, come as NATO foreign ministers are gathering in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, for a meeting expected to discuss the alliance's potential expansion.

Georgia says it hopes to join NATO by 2009.

Ukraine's hopes of membership were given a boost in Sofia on April 27 when NATO's spokesman, James Appathurai, said the alliance is "supportive" of Ukraine's bid, saying "the basic principle of NATO's enlargement policy" is that it will "support the aspirations of democracies -- European democracies -- that wish to move closer to NATO."

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine, Sergei Lavrov and Borys Tarasyuk, will meet their NATO counterparts for separate talks on April 28, the day the conference officially starts.

(Interfax, AP)