Latvian Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Andrejs Pildegovics on February 20 ruled out any extension of the Russian lease to the Skrunda anti-missile early warning radar station. The spokesman indicated that Latvia intends, in accordance with the lease contract, to begin decommissioning the station after the expiration of the lease on August 31. The commander of Russian’s strategic nuclear forces, Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev, had publicly asked Latvia twice last week to extend the lease. Riga’s official reaction followed Yakovlev’s second statement, which had indicated that the Russian Foreign Ministry had approached Latvia on the matter. (See Monitor, February 20) The lease runs for a five-year term which began on August 31, 1994, the date when Russia completed the withdrawal of its troops from Latvia, except the personnel at Skrunda. (Russian agencies, 20 February 1998)
Ukraine to Keep Soviet Cruiser.