According to Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko, Ukraine is seriously concerned by the openly stated intentions of some of its western neighbors to accept nuclear weapons on their territories in peacetime, once they join NATO. Udovenko told a Kiev briefing, in the presence of Czech foreign minister Josef Zielenec, that such statements should not have been made, as the nuclear weapons issue complicates even further the controversy over NATO´s enlargement and Ukraine´s position. Ukraine has given up nuclear arms and urged all other countries to follow suit, Udovenko recalled. He said that the issue of NATO´s enlargement will figure on the agenda of his upcoming talks in Moscow with Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev. (12)
Although its attitude toward NATO´s enlargement has turned essentially positive in recent months, Kiev urges a cautious approach out of concern that Russian countermeasures could translate into pressures on Ukraine. Zielenec declared while in Kiev that the Czech republic is prepared to host nuclear weapons in peacetime–an example of the kind of statements which exacerbate Ukrainian concerns about becoming a denuclearized buffer zone between two nuclear-armed blocs, exposed to pressure from one without being guaranteed by the other.
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