Ukraine denies existence of secret CIA prisons on its territory

Ukraine on Tuesday vehemently denied the existence of secret prisons allegedly run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency on Ukrainian soil. "The very raising of that issue is absurd," Vasiliy Filipchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, told reporters. Filipchuk's remarks followed a report by a Swiss weekly about a purported Egyptian government message on the existence of secret CIA prisons in Ukraine, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia's southern province of Kosovo.

The Council of Europe, the continent's top rights watchdog, and several European Union countries are investigating reports of CIA-run detention facilities and flights over their territories.

A Justice Ministry official who refused to identify himself also dismissed the report as "ridiculous," and told The Associated Press that Ukraine "is not some banana republic where some clandestine organizations can do whatever they want."

On Dec. 16, Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko met CIA director Porter Goss in Kiev. No public statements were made following the meeting.

At a news conference four days later, Yushchenko noted only briefly that "the sides discussed cooperation between security services" and the settlement of the crisis in neighboring Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester province, reports the AP. I.L.

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