Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko told a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington that cooperation with the U.S. and with European and Euroatlantic institutions represents "the main direction of Ukraine’s foreign policy. This is our conscious choice." Kiev at the same time pursues economic cooperation with Russia and stability in Ukrainian-Russian relations "as a guarantee of security and stability in the post-Soviet space and in Europe… An independent and balanced Ukrainian policy answers the long-term interests of both Ukraine and the West," Lazarenko commented. (Interfax-Ukraine, July 27)
The remarks are in line with president Leonid Kuchma’s policy, and reflects both Kiev’s Western tilt and its concern that it would be forced to choose sides if Russia-West relations deteriorate. That concern is reflected in Kiev’s reservations toward possible deployment of nuclear weapons in countries to be admitted to NATO, and the Ukrainian proposal to establish instead a denuclearized zone in Central and Eastern Europe. U.S. deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, who met with Lazarenko during this Washington visit, had apparently defused that concern somewhat last week by stating that NATO is not considering such nuclear redeployments under current circumstances.
Ukraine Dismantling ex-Soviet Missiles.