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Ukraine PM wants U.S. to discuss radar deployment with Kiev

RIA Novosti

03/03/2007 14:52 KIEV, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's premier said his country opposed unilateral decisions on global security systems and wanted to discuss the issue with the United States.

Viktor Yanukovych's statement followed Washington's announcement in January that it would build a radar installation in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland in the next five years to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea.

"If we are talking about a global security system, Ukraine must be involved in the process because it has facilities on its territory, which could perform relevant functions," the premier said. "We do not want to be just observers, we would like to join the process."

Moscow has strongly opposed the U.S. plans, saying the missile shield threatened Russia's national security.

The Ukrainian premier's proposal to the U.S. could upset Russia even further, considering the ongoing struggle for influence in former Soviet nations between Moscow and Washington.

In an attempt to strike a balance between the two powerful partners, Yanukovych called on the U.S. to consult countries in the region, including Russia, about its security intentions.

"According to Yanukovych, if it is all about a global security system, it should take into consideration the opinion of all participants - the United States, Russia and the European Union," the press service of Yanukovych's Party of Regions said.

The U.S. aroused further security concerns in Russia Thursday when a senior Pentagon official said Washington "would like to place a radar base in the Caucasus". The announcement aroused suspicions in Moscow that Georgia could be a possible site. Georgian officials denied the possibility.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been strained since West-leaning authorities came to power in the South Caucasus nation in 2003.

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