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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ukraine Denies Reports Of Missile Cooperation With US

Kiev: Ukraine's defense minister did not discuss possible cooperation with the United States in missile technologies and anti-missile defense systems, the ministry said Tuesday. Some media sources published statements earlier made by Sergei Markov, the director of Moscow's Political Research Institute, saying Ukraine's defense minister had approached the United States to discuss possible missile cooperation.

"The statement does not correspond to reality," the ministry said. "There were no statements on behalf of Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko on initiatives for cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in the sphere of missile technologies and anti missile defense systems."

Ukraine's prime minister, speaking at a news conference in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said the United States had never proposed that Ukraine deploy an anti-missile defense system on its territory.

"I haven't heard of such an issue. As far as I know, it doesn't exist," Viktor Yanukovych said.

Washington officially proposed placing a radar network in the Czech Republic two weeks ago, and announced plans last week to start formal talks with Poland on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems on its territory.

Moscow has strongly opposed the deployment of an anti-missile shield in its former backyard in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russia's national security.

The U.S. has repeatedly argued that defenses in Europe could intercept possible intercontinental ballistic missiles from 'rogue' regimes, such as Iran and North Korea.
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