President Bush today declared his unequivocal support for the entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, a position sure to anger Russia, Reuters notes. “Your nation has made a bold decision, and the United States strongly supports your request,” Bush said, flanked by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. But both former Soviet states are expected to be blocked by French and German opposition.
Bush said it was a “misperception” that he might trade his Ukraine support in exchange for Russian acceptance of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. “There's no tradeoffs. Period,” the president said. Russia is lobbying hard against both states, saying NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territory impinges on Russia’s sphere of influence.