19:01 GMT +3 hours23 November 2014
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Russia to increase security if Georgia, Ukraine join NATO

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(updated 18:25 28.10.2014)
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Russia will be forced to strengthen security on its borders if Georgia and Ukraine join NATO, Army General Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the country's General Staff, said on Friday.
MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will be forced to strengthen security on its borders if Georgia and Ukraine join NATO, Army General Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the country's General Staff, said on Friday.

At a summit in Bucharest last Thursday, NATO members decided to postpone offering Georgia and Ukraine the chance to join the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward full membership, but promised to review the decision in December.

"Russia will undoubtedly take measures to ensure its security near the state border. These will be both military and other measures," Baluyevsky said.

When asked to give details of the possible measures, Baluyevsky said that "We will wait, as the issue is ambiguous."

"Ukrainians are unanimously against Ukraine joining NATO," the military official said adding that in Georgia about 70% of the population is in favor of membership, but there is still time and this could change.

NATO's eastward expansion, as well as U.S. plans to deploy components of an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, have been a source of concern for Moscow.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference after meeting with leaders of the 26-nation alliance on the sidelines of the Bucharest summit that "The appearance on our borders of a powerful military bloc... will be considered by Russia as a direct threat to our country's security."

In an interview with RIA Novosti on Friday Mikhail Kamynin, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that one of the problematic issues between Moscow and Kiev is "the course of the Ukrainian authorities toward integration into NATO."

The issue of Ukraine's drive for NATO will be discussed among other issues between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on April 15.

Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the international affairs committee, said that Ukraine's possible NATO admission would completely destroy cooperation between Moscow and Kiev in the defense sector.

"Bilateral cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in the security sphere, which was established in the Soviet era by integrating respective structures and continues developing, will end if Ukraine joins NATO," Kosachyov said.