President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine flew yesterday to Helsinki for a two-day state visit, amid rumors in Kiev that U.S. secretary of state Warren Christopher will join up with him there for a conversation before Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov’s arrival in the Finnish capital tomorrow. Kiev thinks Christopher is likely to probe Kuchma on the outcome of Primakov’s talks in the Ukrainian capital last week, and in particular, what the two sides had to say about NATO enlargement. As of this writing, the State Department had not confirmed Christopher’s itinerary.
Following Primakov’s visit, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Yury Serhyev reaffirmed that Ukraine’s position on NATO’s enlargement "differs from that of Russia" in that "Ukraine favors an indivisible system of European and global security" which "might be based on NATO’s existing system." In an apparent reference to discussions in Moscow about countering NATO enlargement through a Russian-led bloc, Serhyev said that Ukraine is "against the creation of parallel security structures." The spokesman also reaffirmed Ukraine’s well known reservations about an "instant and automatic enlargement" of NATO. Ukraine opposes a "mechanistic approach" to the problem, whereas Russia, by contrast, "views NATO’s possible enlargement as something absolutely inadmissible." (11) Kiev’s insistence on gradualism in NATO’s enlargement is consonant with the alliance’s own policy and stems from Ukraine’s wish to avoid becoming a buffer zone. Meanwhile, in its search for enhanced security, neutral Ukraine participates in joint military exercises with the U.S. and NATO countries.
Duma Communists Support Abkhaz Demands.