Georgian, Ukrainian officials push for NATO membership - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Georgian, Ukrainian officials push for NATO membership

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senior officials from Georgia and Ukraine are pressing ahead with calls on NATO members to bring the two nations into the alliance in order to protect them from Russia and cement ties with the West.

Georgia intensified efforts to join the Western military alliance after it lost control of two breakaway provinces in a 2008 war with Russia. Ukraine is also pushing for membership after Russia annexed its Crimean peninsula and supported pro-Russian insurgents in a two-year separatist conflict in the east of the country. Russia vehemently opposes both bids as a threat to its security.

Georgia's defense minister said at a think tank event Wednesday that the United States has a strong interest in helping Georgia join NATO as a way of deterring Russia.

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