British Leader Arrives In Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is visiting Ukraine offering solidarity in a growing battle of words with Russia.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband at No. 10 Downing Street

The timing came shortly after Russia formally recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, further inflaming relations with other former Soviet states and Western powers.

Ukraine leaders' interest in joining NATO has increased tensions with Russia.

Miliband has said that would use the Ukraine visit to assemble the "widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia," the Times of London reported Wednesday.

He added that Russia's recognition of the separatist regions "further inflames an already tense situation" adding: "We fully support Georgia's independence and territorial integrity, which cannot be changed by decree from Moscow."

Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko described his country as a hostage in a war waged by

Russia against old Soviet bloc states. He added that the brief war between Georgia and Russia had exposed serious weaknesses in the powers of the United Nations and other international bodies.

But a large Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and polls showing that up to two-thirds of the country's population oppose NATO membership may limit his options, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Source: UPI