Russia to shut down early-warning radars in Ukraine

12:42, 12 July 2007
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Moscow pays Kiev 1.5 million dollars rent a year to operate them

Russia will shut down a pair of early-warning radar stations operating in Ukraine, Korrespondent magazine reported on Thursday, according to EarthTimes. The Soviet-era installations are located in the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea and the west Ukraine border town Mukachevo.

Moscow pays Kiev 1.5 million dollars rent a year to operate both sites, with the rental contract running out at the end of 2007.

Both complexes are outdated and replacable by more modern monitoring systems within Russia proper, the report noted, citing an unnamed Russia defence ministry official.

Ukraine in February 2005 suggested a hike in the rent for the radar sites, a suggestion the Kremlin rejected at the time on the grounds that a rental contract still was in effect.

A bill before the Duma, Russia`s parliament, proposes the construction of two Ukrainian radar sites using advanced technologies near the town Lekhtus in Russia`s western Leningrad province, and near the town Armavir in Russia`s southern Krasnodar province.

Kiev later that year conducted exploratory talks with the United States on the eventual turning over of the radar sites at Mukachevo and in Crimea to NATO, according to the report.

Russia has been in a long-running row with Kiev over its military installations in Ukraine, particularly over Russian naval forces in Crimea.

Moscow is also in conflict with the US over Washington`s plan to build early-warning radars in East Europe.

The US argues that the detection systems would be aimed at potential nuclear enemies like Iran or North Korea, while the Kremlin claims the proposed East Europe radars would undermine Russian national security.

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