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Ukraine ready to participate in NATO's European missile defense

RIA Novosti

11:19 24/11/2010

KIEV, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine is ready to take part in NATO's European missile defense project, Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Raisa Bogatyrova said on Wednesday.

"Ukraine has not only expressed its willingness to participate in the establishing of the European missile defense system, but also suggested using its radars. If the alliance is interested in this proposal, we are definitely ready to cooperate," BBC Russia cited Bogatyrova as saying.

During his visit to Moscow in November, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Ukraine, along with Russia, may also take part in NATO's missile defense program.

On the prospect of Ukraine's NATO membership he said the Ukrainian government "has slightly changed the Euro-Atlantic orientation of Ukraine, and we fully respect that."

Ukraine has two radar facilities, one in the Crimean port of Sevastopol and the other in Mukachevo in the western Zakarpattia region. Russia had a contract on using these stations until 2008, when it terminated the agreement citing they were operationally obsolete.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has vowed to stay out of Western military blocs and build closer ties with Russia.

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