The Russian Defense Ministry has decided not to renew its lease on two Dnepr radar stations located in Ukraine near the cities of Sevastopol and Mukachevo, according to Kommersant. In their place, the Voronesh-DM station outside Armavir, Krasnodar Territory, will cover the southwestern sector of the missile attack warning system. The Russian Defense Ministry began to have doubts about the Ukrainian stations` dependability after they were transferred from the Ukrainian military to the Ukrainian National Space Agency in 2005. The rent on the stations was doubled, to $1.3 million per year, at the same time.
The Dnepr radar stations near Sevastopol and Mukachevo were opened in 1979. They can detect the launch of a missile from 4000 km. Thus, they monitor Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Moscow signed a 15-year rental agreement on them in 1992 for $840,000 per annum. The Ukrainian National Space Agency made a proposal for the modernization of the stations when the lease on them was renewed. It also suggested a new rental price of $3 million annually.
Construction of the Armavir facility began in May 2006 and it is already in operation. It has a scope 4200 km., which could be increased to 6000 km., and monitors an area from North Africa to China, including Iran, India and Pakistan. A total of five or six stations of the type will be built in Russia. When they are completed, Russia will withdraw from stations in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus as well. One such station is already operating in Lekhtusi, Leningrad Region.