President George W. Bush said on Tuesday there was no link between bids by ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia to begin the process of joining NATO and plans to deploy a U.S. missile defense system in Europe, Reuters report.
"That is a misperception," Bush said after talks in Kiev. "I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP (Membership Action Plans) and there`s no tradeoffs. Period."
Bush said he had made that clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia opposes the bid by both ex-Soviet states to seek long-term NATO membership and has also criticized U.S. plans to deploy interceptor rockets and a radar in Poland and the Czech Republic.