Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Meddling In Internal Affairs

KIEV, Ukraine -- Kiev accused Moscow Saturday of meddling in its internal affairs, a day after Russia's armed forces chief warned of military steps in reaction to Georgia's and Ukraine's desire to join NATO.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry

"The declarations of high Russian officials have an openly anti-Ukrainian nature, questioning the territorial integrity of Ukraine and constitute meddling in the internal affairs" of the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Friday, Russia's armed forces chief General Yury Baluyevsky was quoted by Russian media as saying Moscow "will take action aimed at guaranteeing its interests close to its borders."

"It will not only be measures of a military character. There will be other measures," Baluyevsky warned.

Earlier this month, NATO turned down Georgia's and Ukraine's applications for Membership Action Plans - a stepping stone to joining the alliance - but did say both would eventually become members.

Nonetheless, the delay was greeted as a victory by Moscow, which staunchly opposes the two Western-oriented neighboring countries joining the alliance.

Moscow sees the expansion of NATO and the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile shield in central Europe as threats to its security.

Source: AFP