Ukraine May Open Airspace to US Warplanes - 12 March, 2003

The Ukrainian authorities have not ruled out opening Ukrainian airspace to US warplanes taking part in military action against Iraq. This was announced to journalists yesterday in Kiev by Yevgeny Marchuk, the head of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council.

According to Marchuk, the Ukrainian government is currently carefully studying a request made by the US. However, Marchuk added that it was still too early to talk about any decision, although this would clearly depend on how the situation develops in Iraq.

Ukraine has already agreed in principle to send an anti-chemical and nuclear warfare battalion to the Persian Gulf. The battalion will be deployed in Kuwait before the start of military operations in Iraq.