Russia's envoy to NATO said on Tuesday he believed the issue of Ukraine's membership of the military alliance would remain unresolved for at least 15 years, RIA Novosti reported.

Last December, European NATO members led by Germany blocked U.S.-backed bids by Ukraine and Georgia to join programs leading to membership in the Western military alliance. The refusal was welcomed by Russia, which strongly opposes the alliance's expansion into the former Soviet Union.

"If the issue is to be resolved some day, this will happen no sooner than in 15, 20 or 25 years," Dmitry Rogozin said during a video conference.

He said Ukraine's bid for a membership action plan had receded to the background and that NATO had analyzed the situation in Ukraine and determined that the country was in a state of "permanent trauma, with constant conflict between all branches of power and an uncompromising public opinion on NATO integration."

Rogozin said Ukraine's NATO issue would be similar to talks between Turkey and the European Union on the country's integration with the EU. 

The situation with Georgia's bid for NATO membership is no less complicated, the envoy said, citing the separatist republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent after Georgia attacked South Ossetia last August in a bid to bring the region back under its control.

Rogozin noted that Georgia had excluded Abkhazia and South Ossetia from a referendum on NATO membership, and he said this meant the Georgian president had as a point of fact opted for joining NATO without the secessionist regions long before the August conflict.

He said that by allowing Georgia to join under its post-August borders, NATO would be forced to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Russia had done.


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