Friday, September 29, 2006

Ukraine Defense Minister Denies British Journal Report Kiev Sold Radar System To Iran

KIEV, Ukraine -- The defense minister on Friday denied allegations in a British defense journal that Ukraine sold sophisticated military radar systems to Iran.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko

Jane's Defense Weekly, citing unidentified sources, reported that Ukraine sold an unknown quantity of Kolchuga radar systems to Iran, saying that deliveries were either recent or imminent.

The accusations "will lead to nothing, it's just negative information," Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko said, according to his spokesman, Andriy Lysenko. "I think it's all false."

Earlier, the office of pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko also denied the allegations, saying such a sale "didn't happen and wouldn't."

Hrytsenko suggested the allegations were aimed at discrediting Ukraine's military industry, according to Lysenko.

In 2002, the United States accused former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of approving the sale of Kolchugas to Iraq despite U.N. sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime. Kuchma denied it, and the radar systems were never found in Iraq.

After the Soviet breakup in 1991, Ukraine inherited a sizable weapons industry and it remains a major producer of arms including missiles, aircraft and tanks.

According to Jane's, the Kolchuga is used to detect the takeoff and formation of aircraft groups at distant ranges, and can determine the course and speed of targets.

Citing sources, Jane's said that each system costs about $25 million.

Source: AP

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