Speaking during a visit to Georgia, Yushchenko said he is convinced the right road to take is one that links Ukraine with the rest of Europe.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Moscow had no right to dictate his country's military or foreign policies and that NATO integration is not directed against any third party.
"I would also like to address the speculation that has become frequent [in Georgia] about the ways in which NATO [membership] is linked to our internal conflicts," Saakashvili said. "I want to tell you that NATO is not, and should not be, specifically linked to these internal conflicts. However, NATO [membership] is linked to Georgia's integration, Georgia's further democratization, Georgia's strength."
"No country can put its veto on the development of relations between NATO and Georgia," he added.
COOPERATION, CONFLICT, CONFRONTATION: Relations between Russia and the West are notoriously volatile. "To see the kind of relationship that presidents Bush and Putin have developed and to see Russia firmly anchored in the West, that's really a dream of 300 years, not just of the post-Cold War era," then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said in May 2002.
But observers have increasingly called into question the extent of the shared values between Russia and the West, particularly on issues relating to the transformations going on in other former Soviet countries.
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