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Statement of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada on the Alleged Transfer of Kolchuga Radar System to Iraq

Ottawa, November 14, 2002

The purpose of my statement is to deliver to you the official position of Ukraine on the alleged transfer of the “Kolchuga” radar system to Iraq. As you know, this is a sensational topic which has focused the attention of the world mass-media especially in regard to the situation in the Persian Gulf.

You are probably aware of the fact that a British–American experts team was invited to Ukraine by the Ukrainian President to investigate the issue of accusations of its alleged transfer of “Kolchuga” radio-technical surveillance stations to Iraq.

During its work in Ukraine the team was provided with unprecedented access to information, including even classified data and documents of all Ukrainian authorities dealing with dual use items' export and export control. The team was also allowed to visit the Ukrainian factory that manufactures “Kolchuga” as well as locations within the country where these stations are deployed. The team also got tactical characteristics of “Kolchuga” stations.

Upon completing its mission the team handed over to the Ukrainian side a report containing the conclusions of its work.

Ukrainian authorities have thoroughly analyzed the report of the American-British experts team. We are concerned by the contents of the main conclusion of the report stating that Ukraine, allegedly, has failed neither to prove it never sold “Kolchuga” to Iraq nor the fact that such a sale was impossible.

In our opinion this conclusion is inaccurate and unjust. Moreover, it contradicts one of the basic postulates of law regarding presumption of innocence.

Ukraine notes the absurdity of the situation in which it appears to have become a victim of the unprecedented openness it demonstrated during the experts mission in Ukraine. The decision to provide the experts with all possible assistance in their investigation was taken personally by the President and now he is being strongly criticized within the State for this stance in this matter.

We emphasize that, in fact, the experts team found no evidence proving Ukraine's involvement into arms sale.

On November 12, 2002 Mr. Victor Medvedchuk, Head of the Administration of the President of Ukraine, speaking at the press conference in Kyiv, gave comprehensive comments on the report’s conclusion. His remarks could be considered as an official position of Ukraine on that issue. In his speech, Mr. V. Medvedchuk resolutely rejected the main aforesaid conclusion of the report. The experts team was informed about the quantity of the produced “Kolchuga” and the serial number of each item. Since 1987 the “Topaz” factory has produced 76 radar systems. Prior to August 1991 Ukraine produced 46 stations at the request of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. 14 of them were located on the Ukrainian territory.

30 more “Kolchuga” were produced after 1992. 18 of them - by request of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, 8 – of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and 4 – by request of China. Three more stations, manufactured in 1991 after modernization in 2000 were sold to Ethiopia.

Ukraine provided the experts with all documents containing the serial numbers of all radar systems except the first one that was produced in 1987 having no special number.

There are today 19 radar systems in Ukraine and the Ukrainian side disclosed their location. That was secret information but we released it so that the experts team could examine their serial numbers.

Ukraine would like to stress that the main argument used so far in the accusations is the notorious episode of “Melnychenko tapes”. And Ukrainian experts are absolutely sure that the relevant tape recording has been edited.

Since we cannot agree with the report’s conclusions, on November 9, 2002 Ukraine addressed the UN Security Council requesting to assess this document and conduct its own investigation into accusations brought against Ukraine. Our State is determined to remove any doubts regarding this issue and to clearly prove groundlessness the accusations of transfer of arms or dual-use items to Iraq.

The UN 661 Committee took a decision to discuss the issue during its consecutive meetings as well as in the course of informal consultations that take place regularly within the framework of the Committee. The said decision has been made also taking into consideration the request by the US delegation that stated that American side was still waiting for Ukraine to provide answers to the questions raised by the experts team.

Ukraine is ready for further cooperation on that issue. At the same time, such cooperation would be meaningful only in case of the reconsideration of the already made and widely publicized conclusion.

It needs to be underlined that Ukraine would like to strengthen its cooperation with the NATO-members states. Ukraine hopes that all misunderstandings will be removed and our State will prove the fact that it hasn’t breached any of the UN-sanctions.

Ukraine is proud of the high level of the Ukraine-Canada special partnership and our State hopes for intensification of the bilateral dialogue between both countries.

Dr. Yuri Scherbak

For additional information, please contact:
Yurii Nykytiuk, Press Secretary at the Embassy of Ukraine
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400

2002 11 14