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16 Mar, 2010 18:28

Kiev may become the venue for new START signing

Relations between Russia and Ukraine are getting back on track, and Kiev could be the venue for the signing of the nuclear reduction treaty, the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers said after meeting in Moscow.

Russia would be glad to sign a new arms reduction treaty with the United States in the Ukrainian capital, Sergey Lavrov said.

The previous START treaty ran out last December, but Russia and the US are now inches away from agreeing to a new deal.

Lavrov explained why Kiev is among the top choices.

“We appreciate the position taken by Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union – the decision on their non-nuclear status. During the Soviet period, nuclear arms were stationed on their territories, and the decision of those three newly-independent countries to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was highly valued by the international community. As non-nuclear states, they received security guarantees. Those will be fully reaffirmed in the new treaty. And we will feel comfortable signing this new agreement in Kiev.”

Political analyst Vladimir Kozin sees the move as an attempt to raise the prestige of the new Ukrainian leadership.

Considering Kiev as a signing venue was just one of the outcomes of a meeting between Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Konstantin Grishchenko, in Moscow.

The ministers also signed a ministerial cooperation plan for 2010 in Moscow on Tuesday.