A meeting of the CIS coordination committee for air defense was held
yesterday in Moscow. Participants discussed the problems of cooperation
in defending their air boundaries. It appeared that not all the allies
were able to reach a mutual understanding. As Colonel General Anatoly Toropchin,
the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's air force, told Kommersant <http://www.kommersant.ru>,
Kiev demanded that Moscow increase payments for information obtained by
radar stations of the missile attack warning system in Mukachev and Sevastopol
for the Russian missile attack warning system.
The status and development prospects of the unified air defense system set up ten years ago by ten CIS countries were examined at a meeting of the CIS coordination committee for air defense. As it turned out, only Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan will continue to use their combined forces to fortify this system. According to Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev, the deputy commander-in-chief of Russia's air force, nearly 2 billion rubles are earmarked for 2005 for its development. Ukraine and Uzbekistan are cooperating with Moscow solely on a bilateral basis, while for the last seven years Georgia and Turkmenistan have shunned any cooperation in the area of air defense.
On the other hand, Army General Vladimir Mikhailov, the commander-in-chief of Russia's air force, said yesterday that Moscow and Minsk would establish a regional air defense system, run by a commander appointed by the supreme state council of the federal state of Belarus and Russia. According to Lieutenant General Oleg Paferov, the commander of Belarus's air force and air defense, all forces and air defense units included in this system will be under his command.
Against this background, the statement of Colonel General Anatoly Toropchin, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's air force, regarding the missile attack warning system sounded a jarring note. As General Toropchin told Kommersant <http://www.kommersant.ru> yesterday after the meeting ended, Kiev had demanded that Moscow increase payments for information provided by it from the Dnepr radar stations in Mukachev and Sevastopol for the Russian missile attack warning system.
The Dnepr radar stations in Mukachev and Sevastopol have belonged to Ukraine since 1992 and are maintained by Ukrainian military personnel. On the basis of an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, information from the stations, which monitor outer space over Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, is received at the central command point of the missile attack warning system under the Russian space forces. Kiev receives $1.2 million annually for this.
General Toropchin believes this amount simply does not compensate the expenses of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense, especially for supporting the personnel, who are working exclusively in Russia's interests. In his words, Moscow must assume all expenses for salaries and medical and pension services of the Ukrainian servicemen operating the Dnepr stations. “Russia pays $5 million to lease the Daryal radar station in Azerbaijan, while we get only $1.2 million for information from two stations,” Toropchin complained to the Kommersant correspondent. “That's unfair!” The general thinks that the presidents and governments of the two countries must eliminate this unfairness.
Russia's Ministry of Defense refused to comment to Kommersant on General Toropchin's statement.