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Published:February 16th, 2008 19:10 EST
To Direct the Russian Rocket!

To Direct the Russian Rocket!

By Ann Poludenko

Russia will have to re-direct its rockets towards the objects it considers to be dangerous for national security. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, talked about this during his summarization conference in Moscow. As he explained, this concerns Ukraine first of all, in case it decides to dislocate the American anti-missile defense systems on its territories.

Previously, the coalition of majors in the Ukrainian parliament sent a letter to NATO’s chief – Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer – with a request to admit plan of acts about the country’s membership in alliance. The opposite parties that support the pro-eastern (Russian) way of the country’s development started protests in the Parliament for this letter being sent without their agreement.

Vladimir Putin, when speaking about the probability of directing rockets toward Ukraine, explained, “If this [a letter of request about accepting a new NATO-Ukraine Action Plan – SOP] was done so secret mode, both military bases and the fourth or fifth positional districts of US anti-missile systems, may be dislocated with the same secret mode, without asking anyone … What else should we do?”

The reaction from Ukraine was immediate. Viktor Yshchenko, the president of the country, said that Ukraine is ready to legislatively support the interdiction of any military bases’ dislocation on the territory of the country – although, the country’s constitution already forbids military bases of any other country to be on its territory. “The declaration of Russian president, Vladimir Putin about directing rockets on Ukraine, is just an emotional reaction,” said the secretary of the Council of National Security of Ukraine, Raisa Bogatureva. She said it used to happen when Russian politicians hear about Ukrainian’s intension to integrate a Euro-Atlantic zone; this shows that it is a very delicate and “sensitive” topic for them.

In Washington, this declaration by the Russian leader was dubbed unacceptable. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that hidden threats from Russia towards Ukraine are impermissible and Russian rhetoric as a whole is unacceptable. Richard Lugar, an influential senator from the Republican party, added to this topic, “Russia threatens Ukraine and its neighbors with rockets and pressures through blocking gas supplying.”

At the same time, the chief of the Joint Staff of defense of Russia, Iyriy Balyevsky, supported Putin’s declaration that Russia may re-point its rockets at the countries where the elements of a US or NATO anti-missile system might be. “Our analysis shows that the location of the US base would be a clear threat to Russia. The radar would be able to monitor rocket installations in central Russia and the Northern Fleet,” he said.

At the beginning of 2007 the United States contacted the Czech Republic and Poland and began negotiations on the possible deployment of U.S. missile defense assets on Czech and Polish territory. But there was not a word from Washington about its intension to dislocate the radar on Ukrainian territory.

The system, including 10 interceptor missiles and a radar, is said by US officials to be aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran.