NATO will continue to use Georgia for as long as it can by dangling the "carrot" of membership in the military alliance in front of it, Russia's NATO envoy said on Tuesday.
"Georgia will be used for as long as possible so that it sends it soldiers to Afghanistan and allows deployments on its territory," Dmitry Rogozin said at a RIA Novosti video conference.
"But, in essence, they will be kept like that famous animal that has a carrot tied in front of its mug," he added.
He also said that NATO would not accept Georgia as a member due to territorial disputes over South Ossetia and Abkhazia but would continue to think of it as a "close partner".
"They will de facto be used as a close partner in the Caucasus, but will not get formal membership in the foreseeable future," he said.
Georgia has long been pursuing NATO membership, but its bid was turned down due to pressure from Germany and France at a 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.
However, NATO has stated that the country will join at an unspecified date in the future.
MOSCOW, May 4 (RIA Novosti)
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The solution to the Ukrainian problem will directly depend on how the military operations unfold in Donbass. If the militia fighters take over the strategic initiative, win back Donbass and extend the war to the Zaporozhye and the Kharkov regions, then Kiev will be more amenable to a compromise