Kiev, Ukraine (AP) President Bush says the U.S. “strongly supports” Ukraine's effort to become a member of NATO.
The president is in Ukraine today, the first stop on a week-long european trip that will take him to Romania tomorrow for the NATO summit.
Bush joined Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko at a news conference in Kiev today. He noted Ukraine is the only nation that isn't a member of the military alliance which has
supported all of its efforts, including in Afghanistan. He said admitting the former soviet state will help advance security and freedom in the region and around the world.
In answer to a question, Bush said NATO members have made it clear Russia will not have a veto over who joins.
Later in his trip, Bush will be meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, hoping to ease differences over U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Bush acknowledged today that the U.S. has “work to do” to convince Putin the system is