Ukraine denies ‘money-for-missile shield’ talks with US

Minsk, March 6: Ukraine is not holding any talks on the deployment of US missile defence units on its territory in exchange for financial support, Ukrainian Ambassador in Belarus capital Minsk Mikhail Yezhel said Wednesday.

“Ukraine is not holding any talks on ABM deployment in return for US financial assistance,” Yezhel said at a press conference, commenting on the possible deployment of US missile defense components in Ukraine as a condition for financial support to Ukraine.

Financial support is a subject during talks, said the Ambassador, adding that America’s $1 billion tranche was a separate issue on the US-Ukraine agenda.

Refuting reports on a tide of refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries, Yezhel said no citizens of Ukraine have fled to Belarus in connection with the latest events in Crimea.

Regarding the decision by Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, to increase gas prices for Ukraine, Yezhel said it was blackmail. “Gas prices are the key figures in the budget. One cannot use them to blackmail us,” he said. “They reduce prices and then raise them. The same country does it.”

The official stressed that “if we cannot pay tomorrow, we’ll pay the next day”.

IANS