The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Saturday Russia should "stop the practice of threats" over Ukraine`s attempts to join NATO. The Ministry also accused Russia 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, according to AFP.

"Statements by high-ranking Russian officials are ... anti-Ukrainian... and are direct interference in Ukraine`s internal affairs," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

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."

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.