The United States says it has no plans to deploy U.S. radar systems or
weaponry in Ukraine, following comments by a U.S. defense official that
caused Russia to seek clarification.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow was quoted by Defense News magazine Thursday as saying Washington had added Ukraine to a list of possible early warning sites in the region for a newly reconfigured missile defense system.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Vershbow's statement was "unexpected" and called on the U.S. to explain.
Vershbow told reporters Thursday that countries in the region, including Ukraine, may have radar that could contribute to an early-warning system. The U. S. Defense Department said Vershbow said nothing about stationing U.S. radar or any other missile defense system in Ukraine.
President Obama announced last month that he would replace the Bush administration's plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe with a new and more flexible system based on new intelligence and technology.
Newly appointed Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko said Friday that deploying a new anti-missile system in Ukraine would be "unconstitutional."
The Ukrainian parliament voted Friday to confirm Poroshenko - an ally of Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yushchenko - as the country's foreign minister.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev refused to hold talks with the pro-western Yushchenko Friday in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, during a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a gathering of former Soviet republics.
Mr. Medvedev has publicly blamed Mr. Yushchenko for what he says are Ukraine's anti-Russian policies, including a push for NATO membership.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.