Relations between NATO and Russia are bad enough in the wake of the Caucasian conflict but they could get worse if NATO invites Georgia and Ukraine to join its Membership Action Plan (MAP), Russia`s ambassador to Hungary told MTI on Thursday, according to

Igor Savolsky said that dialogue between NATO and Russia was practically non-existent but if Georgia and Ukraine are invited into MAP in December "the atmosphere will get very cold indeed." Once in MAP they are destined to join NATO, he said, and if NATO forces are right next door to Russia that qualifies as a threat and a hazard.

Moscow plans to take diplomatic measures to keep NATO from inviting Georgia and Ukraine, Savolsky said.

When queried, the Russian ambassador said he did not know whether Russia would attend the October NATO summit in Budapest, or whether there would be a separate NATO-Russia meeting. He confirmed that Russia would provide military, economic, and financial assistance to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. While he expected the two regions to maintain very close relations with Russia, Savolsky said he did not expect them to join Russia, even on long term.