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Ukraine government to report on missile shield to parliament

RIA Novosti

19/03/2007 14:34 KIEV, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's parliament is planning Wednesday to hear reports by the Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry about the possible deployment of missile-defense systems on Ukrainian soil, a deputy parliament speaker said Monday.

"The Supreme Rada will hear a situation report concerning the possible deployment of elements of a missile-defense system. We will discuss the issue and make a decision," Adam Martynyuk said.

The government report was initiated by the parliamentary faction of the Communist Party.

Ukraine's premier said last week 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.

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.

The U.S. caused further security concerns in Russia 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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