NATO is ready in the future to involve Ukraine into discussing the deployment of missile defenses in Europe. James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said this at a news conference in Moscow, as UKRINFORM reported from Russia.

At this stage, NATO, he said, is in talks on this issue only with Russia, but the alliance's secretary-general is very well aware of the importance of a coordinated defense for Europe's future.

That's why, Appathurai said, they hope to continue the discussion (of the ABM issue) and start cooperating with other countries. So all the European nations, including Ukraine, must be sure that the task is not to conduct a watershed in Europe, but to provide common defense, he added.

The Special Representative also said they respect the choice of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people to have a non-aligned status. But the intention to cooperate with Ukraine since then has not diminished, and NATO continues to remember the obligations assumed in Bucharest, he noted.

According to Appathurai, it seems clear to the alliance that the Ukrainian government intends to further develop its cooperation with NATO in various fields. He also indicated that Ukraine is actively continuing to participate in NATO operations.

As reported, in early November 2010, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, during his visit to Moscow, said he did not rule out the inclusion of the Ukrainian early warning systems in Sevastopol and Mukacheve in the European missile defense system.

November 23 in Warsaw, Secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Raisa Bohatyriova stated that Ukraine was ready to take part in the European missile defense system that NATO planned to create to protect Europe and the US.

December 15, NSDC First Deputy Secretary Stepan Havrysh said that Ukraine could take part in the creation of NATO missile defense system only together with Russia.

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