NATO has reassured Ukraine about its prospects of joining the transatlantic alliance, with both sides condemning Russia`s decision to recognise Georgia`s breakaway regions.

At a meeting in Brussels Wednesday between ambassadors from NATO and Ukraine - the first such meeting since the outbreak of the conflict in Georgia - the sides expressed `deep concern over the current situation in Georgia, and its implications on the security in the Caucasus and the Euro-Atlantic area`.

`Our nations support the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of partner nations` such as Georgia and Ukraine, a statement from NATO read.

`The NATO-Ukraine Commission condemned the decision by the Russian Federation to extend recognition to the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia,` the sides said in a statement.

The meeting was also attended by Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Konstiantyn Yeliseyev, who acts as his country`s special envoy to Georgia.

Yeliseyev, who paid a recent visit to the troubled region, expressed Ukraine`s `readiness to contribute to the settlement of the conflict (in Georgia).`

NATO ambassadors welcomed the offer and reiterated their willingness to invite Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance at a future stage.

Wednesday`s meeting came just hours after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had warned that Russia could in future attempt to destabilise other former Soviet regions and countries such as `Crimea, Ukraine, Moldova`.

Crimea, a former Russian peninsula which is now part of Ukraine, still hosts Russia`s Black Sea fleet, which was used to attack Georgia in the recent conflict.


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