Bush backs Ukraine in NATO

April 1, 2008 9:49:34 AM PDT
President Bush is not backing down from a NATO battle over putting ex-Soviet satellites Ukraine and Georgia on the road toward membership in the military alliance. The president, in a speech he plans to give Wednesday at a NATO summit, will say that beginning that process by giving Ukraine and Georgia a membership action plan would encourage both to stay on the path of democracy. Also, it would let them know they will be welcomed into the institutions of Europe.

Bush is saying, "It would send a signal throughout the region that these two nations are, and will remain, sovereign and independent states." Germany and French oppose putting Ukraine and Georgia on the NATO path now.

Parts of Bush's speech were released Tuesday.