The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Volodymyr Horbulin, said on May 10 that Ukraine could not agree to a U.S. proposal that it stop producing and testing short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Many of the Soviet Union’s missile production facilities were situated in Ukraine — including the Pivdenmash enterprise that built the giant SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the affiliated Pavlohrad Machine Building Plant where the SS-24 ICBM was produced. Ukraine hopes to earn money from the commercial exploitation of both of these systems.
Horbulin said the U.S. wanted Ukraine to stop building missiles with ranges between 300 and 500 kilometers. Medium-range missiles with longer ranges are banned by the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. As one of the successor states of the USSR where such missiles were based, Ukraine has been a full party to the treaty and has allowed American inspectors to verify its compliance with that treaty. Horbulin suggested, however, that Ukraine would like to see its participation formalized. Missiles with a range of at least 300 kilometers are subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an international effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear-capable weapons systems. The MTCR allows the transfer of such missiles "only on rare occasions." While Ukraine is not a member of the MTCR, in March 1994 it agreed to adhere to the MTCR guidelines. (Interfax, May 10)
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