Opposition to Ukraine and Georgia's US-backed membership bids, led by Germany, is widely seen as an effort to preserve Europe's growing energy ties with Moscow.
Europe's strong opposition to admitting the ex-Soviet states, led by Berlin, was widely seen as an effort to preserve ties with Russia. Moscow firmly opposes further NATO expansion in its backyard and has growing energy ties with Europe, especially Germany.
"Undoubtedly there are those from the business community who have business interests [with Russia] who are weighing in on the side of delaying Ukraine and Georgia membership," says Clifford Gaddy, a Russia expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "They don't want to antagonize Russia."
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