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Kremlin Source Raps Efforts To Invite Ukraine, Georgia Into NATO

MOSCOW. April 2 (Interfax) - Behind the alleged efforts to rush Ukraine and Georgia into NATO is "paranoid insistence on the part of the Americans," a Kremlin source said.

"This kind of (NATO's) expansion is not the result of any objective criteria, and in the case of Ukraine it runs against dominant sentiment in Ukrainian society as well," the source told Interfax.

The source argued that the United States and other NATO members were seeking to have Ukraine and Georgia included in NATO's Membership Action Plan before Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves office and Dmitry Medvedev, who has won the last presidential election, supersedes him.

The MAP is a program of advice and support for countries seeking to join the North Atlantic alliance.

"They want to push it through while Vladimir Putin is still around in order to start their relations with (next Russian president) Dmitry Medvedev with something that's a fait accompli," the source said.

It would be harder for the United States to give green light for Ukraine and Georgia to go into NATO after Medvedev is sworn in, the source argued. "It would be a decision marring relations with the new president and calling for a response (on Russia's part)," the source said.

The source also pointed out that the United States' alleged persistence to have NATO extend its membership to Ukraine and Georgia comes at a time of domestic political instability in the two countries. "Everyone can foresee future cataclysms in Ukraine. Nor will there be any radical improvement in Georgia either," the source said.

The source also stressed the fact that Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions stayed away from a Georgian referendum on the country's proposed entry to NATO though the majority of the population of Georgia less the two provinces voted in favor of joining the Western alliance.

One more point emphasized by the source was the fact that the absence of border demarcation treaties between Russia and the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia did not prevent them from joining NATO.