Ukrainians protest against joining NATO

Thousands of people in Ukraine’s southern republic of Crimea are protesting against the country's plans to join NATO. The demonstrators are also demanding that Ukraine's peacekeepers are withdrawn from Kosovo.

The protesters say that joining the alliance will be against the people's wishes and national interest, and could also harm Ukraine's relations with Russia.

The rally comes two days before the visit of George Bush to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

The country's plans to join NATO will be discussed at an alliance summit in Bucharest in early April.