Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 23

Ukraine does not perceive a serious enemy on the horizon in the next few years or decades, Defense Minister Valery Shmarov told students January 30 at the Belarusian Military Academy. Shmarov was in Minsk to sign a Ukrainian-Belarusian military cooperation plan for 1996. He told his audience that neighboring countries, much less distant ones, were unlikely to launch hostilities against Ukraine. Pointing out that his country was committed to military neutrality, Shmarov dismissed as "absurd" claims that Ukraine was striving to join NATO. (15) Kiev has sought Western security guarantees in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons and has to date made no secret of its fear of a Russian military threat. Shmarov’s remarks might thus be construed as indicating a change in Ukraine’s understanding of its security position.

Primakov Reverts to Tougher Position on Friendship Treaty.