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    UKRAINIAN-INKED LAW ON INTERACTION WITH NATO MAKES RUSSIA WHOLLY VULNERABLE - EXPERT

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 7. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- The law on the NATO force's free access to the Ukrainian territory, signed by Leonid Kuchma on Tuesday, makes Russia vulnerable in the military, political and economic spheres, believes Leonid Ivashov, vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.

    The former chief of the Main Department of International Military Cooperation of the Russia Defence Ministry, he said in the RIA Novosti interview that, having inked the law on the free access of the NATO force to its territory, Ukraine "is more and more being drawn into the NATO orbit, more and more losing its neutral status".

    This law allows the North Atlantic Alliance not only to use Ukraine as a transit state but also freely to deploy its troops in its territory, Ivashov said.

    Militarily speaking, from the positions of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, "the signed Ukrainian-NATO pact creates the real danger of appearing, in close proximity to Russia, 'grey zones' in the European system of conventional arms control, allowing the bloc to unfold striking forces in such zones".

    Politically speaking, Russia is running the risk of losing its allies, Ivashov noted. In the western direction, Russia has now only one ally, Belarus, on which a strong pressure is being produced. In the context of the Ukraine-NATO rapprochement, Belarus will wedge into the NATO field. "This cannot but annoy NATO and it will try to eliminate the wedge by drawing Belarus into its orbit", Ivashov believes.

    "In every aspect, this situation (Ukraine's being drawn into NATO) is very unfavourable for Russia", Ivashov stressed.

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