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Kiev official says consultations on deployment of missile defense in Ukraine possible

May 20, 2015, 11:25 UTC+3

The missile defense system would aim at countering "a nuclear threat posed by Russia"

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KIEV, May 20. /TASS/. The head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said on Wednesday that he did not rule out consultations over the possibility of deploying a missile defense system in his country to counter what he described as "a nuclear threat posed by Russia".

"Without violating international agreements, we are restoring our missile shield, the main task of which is defence against the aggression of the Russian Federation," the Council's secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov, said in an interview with the Ukrinform news agency.

"I do not rule out that to defend ourselves from [Russia’s] nuclear threat, we will have to hold consultations on deploying missile defence system components in Ukrainian territory," he said, noting that: "To prevent a war involving nuclear weapons is a shared responsibility of all people of good will towards the planet."

Turchynov once again accused Russia of placing nuclear weapons in Crimea, saying that in a situation like that there must be "interaction and systemic coordination of efforts by all the world’s leading countries".

"There must be a complex of economic, political and military measures, including a considerable build-up of the common system of protection from a nuclear threat and deployment of extra missile defence positions," he said.

He also urged the West to block Russian ships’ passage through the Bosporus Strait and to disconnect Russia from the automated payment system SWIFT.

Turchinov said he believed Russia "is threatening the world", adding that "adequate response and active actions" were needed.

"I believe we should think about complementing sanctions with blocking Russian ships’ passage through the Bosporus Strait and disconnecting the Russian financial system from the SWIFT system," he said.

"Ukraine is taking measures aimed at protection of its territorial integrity and independence," Turchinov said. "The first and most important thing that we do is rebuilding and strengthening our armed forces, creating an efficient system of national security and defence and revitalising the defence industry."

The Kremlin said last month that Western media publications on the alleged nuclear threat from Russia should not be taken seriously.

"That’s a classic example of the continuing hysteria in demonising this country," Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, said, adding that they were fanning tensions themselves in media "without being guided by any specific information, and then they get scared over what they have written".

"Of course, such publications should not be taken seriously," Peskov said.

On Wednesday, Peskov said Russia would take measures to protect its own security, if Ukraine hosted components of a foreign missile defence.

"If the point at issue is Ukraine’s wish to host US missile defense components, of course this can be perceived only negatively, because that would pose a threat to Russia’s security," he said.

"This will entail the need for taking retaliatory measures that would ensure Russia’s security," he said, adding that for the time being such speculations were "eventual".

Infographics US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System

US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System

The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS

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