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Putin Is Not Joking On Missiles Cautions Ukrainian President

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Montreal (AFP) June 12, 2007
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in an interview he took seriously Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent threat to point missiles at Europe. "I think the President of Russia is not kidding," Yushchenko said in an interview published Tuesday by The Globe and Mail. He was referring to Putin's threat to aim Russia's missiles at European cities if elements of a US missile shield were put in the Czech Republic and Poland.

The United States insists the shield that it wants is aimed at knocking out the threat from rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea. Russia says it believes it is the only target, and Putin issued his threat before later suggesting Russia could cooperate on the radar front.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the United States should take time to study a proposal by Putin made at the G8 summit to use an alternative radar station in ex-Soviet republic Azerbaijan.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer welcomed the proposal but, along with some analysts, voiced doubts about the Azerbaijani radar's ability to meet US requirements.

Yushchenko said: "recent events I think show to everyone that we have quite a creaky security balance. This really triggers some concerns and could be really painful.

"It's becoming more and more apparent that the best response to all the challenges regarding defense and security policy can only be given through a collective system of defense," he told the daily.

"Our defense and security policy doctrine is formally determined in law. And a key aspect is to provide Ukraine's accession to the European Union and the North Atlantic bloc," the Ukrainian president said.

"There are some political forces in Russia that want to keep the old political order in Ukraine. But I emphasize that we are an independent state, a sovereign country. It is (we) who determine our domestic and foreign policies," he added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Putin Missile Threats Seen As Rational By Some As Putin Confronts G8 Critics
Moscow (AFP) June 06, 2007
President Vladimir Putin's threat to aim missiles at Europe was a rational Russian response to US missile defence plans and other deployments that call Washington's stated intentions into question, analysts say. His recent rhetorical offensive also marks a "line in the sand" to halt what Moscow sees as a pattern of thwarted expectations and broken promises by the United States since the 1991 Soviet collapse that have left Russia feeling isolated and threatened, they say.

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