MOSCOW – This week’s
Natalya Vitrenko, who heads an anti-American party, left, burns a NATO flag while rallying in front of U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit and Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 31, 2008.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
realizes it doesn’t have the power to force the West to reverse its recognition of Kosovo’s independence or persuade Washington to drop its plan to deploy missile defenses in and the .
But Putin has had notable success in blockingfor its former Soviet neighbors — and Georgia.
“Georgia’s accession into NATO will be seen here as an attempt to trigger a war in the Caucasus, and NATO membership for Ukraine will be interpreted as an effort to foment a conflict with,” said Sergei Markov, a with close links to the Kremlin.
Amid a litany of such threats from, some NATO members are reluctant to inflame tensions at the three-day summit that begins Wednesday in .