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Ukraine's Defense Minister Criticizes PM On NATO

Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko (file photo) (epa) September 15, 2006 -- Ukraine's Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko has sharply criticized the prime minister over his move to put on hold plans to join NATO.

At NATO headquarters in Brussels on September 14, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said that for the present Ukraine was not ready to move forward toward accession into the alliance.

Hrytsenko today called Yanukovych's comments "groundless, illogical, and simply wrong."

Hrytsenko is an ally of President Viktor Yushchenko, who has made integration with the West one of his main policy goals.

Yanukovych, a supporter of closer links with Russia, was meeting Yushchenko today to discuss the outcome of the Brussels talks.

(Reuters, dpa, "Ukrayinska pravda")