European Missile Shield Might Employ Ukrainian Radar: Former FM

NATO's plans for a European missile shield might encompass Ukrainian radar facilities, the nation's former top diplomat said last week in a television interview (see GSN, Feb. 25).

Kiev is reported to have expressed interest in participating in the missile defense program, though it is not a member of the military alliance.

"From our side, we can help with two radar stations located in Mukacheve and Sevastopol, which could be used for such cooperation," one-time Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said in an Interfax report. "If, say, the two stations are used to prevent the threat of missile attack -- it will be our contribution to the European missile defense system."

Ohryzko said he did not expect Russia to react negatively to Ukrainian-NATO antimissile collaboration.

"I do not think that in this case Russia will be against it, because NATO is just trying to attract other partners, including Russia," he said. "Ultimately, we are talking about a system consisting of two major parts -- the European one, and I hope that we will enter into this system, and the Russian one, which will interact with each other."

Russia has been wary of NATO missile shield efforts, and of the alliance's intentions for former Soviet satellites. Moscow and Brussels in November agreed to explore the potential for missile defense collaboration. However, the Kremlin is intent on establishing a shared system, while NATO favors setting up two separate but collaborative operations (Interfax, Feb. 26).

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was not yet time to discuss details of Ukraine's potential role in the missile shield, RIA Novosti reported.

"I have taken into consideration that Ukraine is interested in such cooperation," Rasmussen said in a television interview, following his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko (RIA Novosti, Feb. 28).

February 28, 2011
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NATO's plans for a European missile shield might encompass Ukrainian radar facilities, the nation's former top diplomat said last week in a television interview (see GSN, Feb. 25).