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Mukachevo

In September 2009 Ukrainian national space agency Deputy General Director Eduard Kuznetsov said the agency will continue using an early-warning attack station based in Sevastopol, Crimea, but would close the Mukachevo facility following Moscow's decision to stop using it. Russia had terminated an agreement on the use of both radars (Sevastopol and Mukachevo) in February 2008 on the grounds that they are operationally obsolete. Kiev called Moscow's move unfriendly. The two radar facilities allowed Ukraine to track missile launches at a distance of up to 1,500 kilometers. Kiev had not ruled out that once the radars are no longer used by Russia that they could be used "in the interest of EU countries."

In early 1970s, building of the new Dnepr above-the-horizon radars began near Riga, Mukachevo, Sevastopol, Irkutsk, and Balkhash Lake. In the mid-1980s, building of new Daryal-U and Volga radars began at the Dnepr radar positions in Latvia (Skrunda), Belarus (Baranovichi), Ukraine (Nikolaev), Kazakhstan (Balkhash), and Siberia (Irkutsk). The radars in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Belarus have received the status of Russian military bases abroad, while the radar installations in Mukachevo and Sevastopol were "privatized" by Ukraine. The installation in Sevastopol and in Mukachevo employ Ukrainian personnel, while the installations are under the operational command of the Russian Strategic Missiles Forces.

Construction of the radar in Mukachevo, near the Transcarpathian village of Pestryalovo [Pistryalivskyy] on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border, began in 1985, although this was not publicly reported in the West until late 1986. By late 1989 Residents of the Western Ukraine were protesting the project, saying that they feared the electromagnetic waves the radar would generate are hazardous. Soviet Defence Minister Dmitri Yazov temporarily suspended construction in February 1990, and a few months later a state-commission concluded that the radar's construction was inadvisable on ecological and health grounds. As of August 1990 construction of the nearly completed radar near Mukachevo was halted by the USSR Council of Ministers. At that time about 100 million rubles ($172 million) out of 160 allocated had already been invested.

An agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the use of the radars in Ukraine was signed by the first Ukrainian president on 06 July 1992. Further negotiations were held in 1993-1994, with agreement that between January 1994 and January 1996 Russia and Ukraine would equally contribute to the operation of these radars. Negotiations between Moscow and Kiev were impeded by different estimates of the cost to maintain the two radars. Kiev claimed that $4 million was needed annually, while Moscow suggested half that figure. Ukraine did not sign the "Concept of protection of air space of states-members of the CIS" which was adopted by countries of the Commonwealth on 19 January 1996 in Moscow.

A new agreement on the radars was signed on 28 February 1997, under which all the outlays linked to the supply of spare parts to the stations and their repair is fully covered by Russia. On 23 October 1998 the State Duma of the Russian Federation failed to ratify the joint "Agreement on the System of Preventing Missile Attack and Space Control." Opponents of the Agreement, which confirmed the title of Ukraine to the radar sites, feared that the ratification would mean an indirect recognition of the spreading of Ukraine's jurisdiction to the city of Sevastopol.

The agreement was finally ratified by the Russian State Duma on 23 December 1998, and the Russian Federation Council on 27 January 1999. As long as the agreement was not ratified, Russia did not pay for using the radars. Russia owed Ukraine 3.5m dollars in payments for the use of the stations from 1994 through to 1997.

While the Skrunda radar in Latvia has been dismantled, the Mukachevo radar continued to provide Russia with early warning information. On 11 January 2001 the Ukrainian parliament ratified a Ukrainian-Russian agreement on missile attack warning systems. The document covered the general principles of using the missile attack warning systems in Ukraine and Russia. It also sets the order of operation of technological centers in Mukachevo and Sevastopol and provision of funds for their development and modernization. On 19 January 2001 General of the Army Alexander Kuzmuk, Ukrainian Minister of Defence, announced that Russia had remitted six million US dollars to Ukraine in payment for information received from the early warning radars based in Sevastopol and Mukachevo.

Mukacheve [Czech Mukacevo, Hungarian Munkács, Russian Mukachevo] is a city in Southwest Ukraine with a 1989 population of 85,000). It is a rail terminus and highway junction and has food, tobacco, beer, wine, furniture, textile, and timber industries. Mukachevo is located in the Transcarpathian (Zakarpatska) oblast, in the Carpathian mountains near the border with Hungary. It was founded in 1376 and became a part of the Soviet Union in 1946. Before then, it was part of Czechoslovakia. By the year 2000 the population was 90,200. Its population is quite mixed and includes many ethnic Hungarians, Gypsies, Romanians, and Slovaks. Light industry (including manufacture of sport items, furniture, and clothing) and food processing are relatively successful, but the city wishes to attract more foreign investment.

Due to its exclusively favorable geopolitical situation (40-50 km distance from the Hungarian and Slovakian boundaries, and correspondingly 90-100 km from the Romanian and Polish boundaries), Mukachevo is a transport junction of international highways. Railways main line (Moscow-Kiev-Budapest-Belgrad-Rome and Prague-Bratislava-Vien), and highways (Kiev-Budapest-Vien and Kiev-Prague) go through the town. A railway of the European standard is laid to the station of Mukachevo, wich guarantees the delivary of cargoes (goods railways) without their intermediate owerloading at the border.

Near the town a large airdrome is situated (in the past it was a military one), which is able to receive airplanes of any type. It is planned to be reequipped for receiving cargo planes as well as creating an appropriate warehouse and forwarding infrastructure.

A number of large enterprises work in the industrial sphere. In the past they were orientated themselves for fulfilment in orders of military-industrial complex. Nowadays in consequence of conversion they all are under reprofiling for production of technique of common use and consumer goods. These plants have considerable available surfaces and capacity, skilled workers. They are interested in organization of co-production of consumer goods industrial cooperation for production of different componets and spares, organization of assembly manufactures.

While the history of Transcarpathia is part of Ukraine's history, it nevertheless has a number of particular features, which are reflected in its economic, political and ethnic development. Occupying an important geographical position on the southern slopes of the Ukrainian Carpathians, the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine at different periods has been called Hungarian Rus', Karpatska Rus', Rus'ka Krayna, Podkarpatska Rus', Karpatska Ukraina, Zakarpatska Ukraina, and since 1946 the Transcarpathian region of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. As such, it has been a unique bridge for relations between East and West for centuries.

Transcarpathia was the first point of entry of the Magyar tribes into `Europe' in the legendary year 896, when they crossed the mountains at the Verecke Pass and made their first resting place at the castle of Mukachevo, before spreading out into the plains and establishing their 1,000-year rule in the Carpathian basin. From the 9th to the 11th centuries, Mukacheve was part of the Kievan state. Taken by the Hungarians in 1018, it became a dominion center of the Hungarian kings. It later (15th century) developed as a prominent trade and craft center. Part of the Transylvanian duchy from the 16th century, Mukacheve then came under Austrian control and was made a key fortress of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Mukacheve passed to Czechoslovakia in 1919, was under German-Hungarian occupation from 1938 to 1944, and was ceded to the Ukrainian SSR in 1945.

Transcarpathia is one of the most picturesque places in the country and has particularly pleasant conditions for tourism and recreation development. Transcarpathia is considered to be one of the best ecological regions of the country. Transcarpathia is famed for its landmarks. There are nearly 2000 of notable historical, archeological and architectural heritage.

The city's architectural landmarks include a castle and a monastery (both 14th cent.) and a wooden church built in the Ukrainian architectural style (18th century). The best known include the Castle Palanok, which stands on the high mountain in the town of Mukachevo. This stronghold was a residence of the Koriatovych family for almost 200 years. During the reign of Prince Felix Koriatovych the fortress became one of the most impregnable in the whole country. The prince and his family lived in the highest part of the castle. The stronghold has an armoury that included 164 cannon of different sizes and 60 barrels of gun-powder. The castle is protected by eight defense layers: moat, rampart, town, cliffs, outer walls, first inner walls, castle, and the citadel. Every yard of the castle is an independent system of fortifications which consist of the walls and the bastions, deep (up to 10 m. ) ditches and earth walls ( up to 10 m. high and 8 to.13 m wide). The castle was surrounded by deep moat. The inner bank of the moat was surrounded by the high wooden fence (or wall ) -- in Ukrainian this sort of fence is called "palanok" which is why this castle is known as Palanok Castle. The area of this fortress is 14000 square meters. the castle consists of 130 different premises with a complicated system of underground passages between them. The castle was the center of the revolt led by Ferenc Rakoshy. The castle was never conquered by force during its long history. For a period during the XIX century under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the castle was used as a prison for important and influential people. In 1926 the stronghold became a barracks, later there was an agricultural college in it. Now it is a museum. The museum exposition reflects a history of Mukachevo and Transcarpathian region from the ancient times till nowadays. In the restored premises there are shops - workshops of the artists, handicraftsmen, making their creations directly on the eyes at public. There are restaurant, hotel, church. The medicinal sports - sanitary complex is situated near to the river Latorytsa and stadium. It functions all the year round. The distance from the railway and bus stations is 3 km.

Between 3-5 November 1998, heavy rainfall in the Carpathian mountain region of Ukraine caused extensive flooding. The rising waters of the Latorytsia River flooded the cities of Mukachevo and Khust, and shut down the Chop train station, which is the primary raillink between Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Many roads connecting Ukraine with its Western neighbors were also made impassable by the rising waters. Many people and organizations donated money to assist with the victim relief operations. For example, the City of Burlington, Vermont in the U.S., which has a Community Partnerships Project partnership with the City of Mukachevo in the Zakarpatia Oblast through the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, collected funds to donate.

On 19 May 1999, police officers in Mukachevo detained some 70 persons, primarily Roma, in a local market for illegal trading. After being kept in an overcrowded police bus for approximately 1 hour, the detainees were forced to wash the police department automobiles and to perform yardwork around the police station, while they were abused verbally by police officers. The detainees were held for 2 days, and none of the Roma was charged formally with a crime. On May 24, 16 of the Roma filed complaints against the police officers. On July 7, five police officers in Mukachevo detained three Romani women in a market, after they did not produce their identification documents. The officers took the women to the police station, where they ordered them to clean the station and threatened to lock them in cells if they refused to cooperate. When a leader of a Romani NGO arrived at the station and demanded an explanation, the women were released. The women wrote letters complaining about their treatment to the regional director of the Ministry of Interior and the regional prosecutor general.

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