Sunday, Aug 17, 2008
Ukraine yesterday offered to create a joint missile defence network with the West amid fears that its port city of Sebastopol, home of the Russian Black Sea fleet, could become the next flashpoint between Russia and its former satellites.
The Ukrainian offer, which means its early warning radar stations could become part of the West’s civil defence system, will further damage poor relations between Kiev and Moscow.
Ukraine, which to the fury of Russia is looking towards Europe and membership of Nato, announced last week that it would require the Russian fleet to seek permission whenever ships entered its territorial waters.
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Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s reformist president who visited the Georgian capital Tbilisi last week to support President Mikhail Saakashvili, said the use of Russian ships for a war violated Ukraine’s neutrality and risked drawing it into conflict.
He instructed his security council to draw up new rules forcing Russia to apply up to 10 days in advance for permission for its fleet to move in and out of Ukraine’s territorial waters.
This weekend Yushchenko said a threat to Georgia’s territorial integrity should be viewed as a potential threat to Ukraine’s: “We have lived through the most terrible 10 days of our recent history.”
This article was posted: Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 5:09 am