The United States should have consulted Ukraine and Russia over its plans to establish a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was quoted on Monday as saying, according to Reuters.
"The stationing issues should have been discussed with everyone in advance, including Ukraine and Russia," Yanukovich told German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview due to be published in the paper`s Tuesday edition.
"Only once there has been a comprehensive European debate, a dialogue between Western and Eastern Europe can such a decision be made," he said in the German text of his comments. "Europe must not be split again like it was before the Iraq war."
The United States wants to set up a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile battery in Poland as part of a "shield" that would counter missiles fired by what Washington calls "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.
The missile plans have angered Moscow, which sees the system as an encroachment on its former sphere of influence and an attempt to shift the post-Cold War balance of power.
Yanukovich, who is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, said Poland`s support for the U.S. plan "did not help" bilateral ties between Warsaw and Kiev.
Stressing that Ukraine aimed to join the European Union, he said Europe needed to have good relations with Russia and that Kiev wanted to act as a bridge between the two sides.
Separately, Yanukovich added that recent domestic wrangles between the parliament, President Viktor Yushchenko and himself had caused serious problems for the political establishment.
"Up until now, politics in Ukraine have been paralyzed by the dispute about whether the president or the prime minister has a bigger say," he told the newspaper.
Yushchenko, who swept to power in the "Orange Revolution" in 2004, has all but lost control of the legislative agenda since he appointed rival Yanukovich prime minister last year.
Yanukovich added that Ukraine aimed to complete its planned accession to the World Trade Organization in mid-2007.