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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Army Seeks to Leave 2 Radar Sites

The Defense Ministry is seeking to discontinue the use of two Soviet-era early warning radar stations in Ukraine as it prepares to commission a more powerful and sophisticated facility on Russian territory, the State Duma said.

At the ministry's behest, the government has submitted a bill to the Duma that would scrap a 1997 Russian-Ukrainian agreement, under which Russia obtains information from the stations in Mukachevo and Sevastopol, said a statement posted on the Duma web site late last week.

The loss of data from these two stations would be more than compensated when the military's new early warning radar system, near the southern city of Armavir, becomes operational later this year, Lieutenant General Nikolai Rodionov, a retired senior strategic forces commander, said Friday, Interfax reported.

The Armavir station in the Krasnodar region will not only detect and monitor launches of missiles, but also keep an eye on satellites, Rodionov said.

Russia has been paying about $1 million to Ukraine for information from the two stations, which are operated by the Ukrainian military, Interfax said without citing anyone. Citing Russian military sources, Izvestia reported that the figure was around $1.3 million.

The Voronezh-DM station in Armavir would also make leasing of another Soviet-era station in Gabala, Azerbaijan, redundant, Izvestia reported.

President Vladimir Putin last month offered the United States the right to use the Gabala site for its planned missile defense shield instead of setting up an early warning radar in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland.

The breakup of the Soviet Union left five out of eight Soviet early warning stations outside Russia, forcing the military to first lease some of the stations from former Soviet republics. Russia began construction of two more powerful stations on its own territory in 2006.