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A Conversation with Viktor Yushchenko

Speaker: Viktor Yushchenko, President, Ukraine
Presider: Peter Ackerman, Managing Director, Rockport Capital, Inc.
September 21, 2009

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko spoke at the New York office of the Council on Foreign Relations on September 21, discussing the future of Ukraine's relations with the United States, the European Union, and Russia. Yushchenko outlined the key challenges straining Ukraine-Russia relations, and addressed U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to revamp missile defense plans for Eastern Europe.

Here are some of the points featured during the conversation:

Ukraine-Russia relations: Referring to Ukraine's relations with Russia as not something to be proud of, Yushchenko elaborated on some of the issues he considers to be most sensitive, including territorial disputes and the absence of a clearly demarcated border between the two countries, the presence of the Russian Black Sea Navy in the Crimean Peninsula, and Ukraine's aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

U.S. missile defense revamp: Yushchenko stressed that any deployment within the Polish or Czech territories is at their discretion, and supported every country's right to enhance its defense. He also cautioned that efforts to achieve pan-European and Euro-Atlantic security must be perceived correctly by all parties involved.

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