Ukraine Extends Russian Navy Lease of Crucial Black Sea Base

World | April 21, 2010, Wednesday // 17:38|  views

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (R) seen after their negotiations in Kharkov, Ukraine, 21 April 2010. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Ukraine and Russia have signed an agreement extending the right of the Russian Black Sea navy to use the Sevastopol base by 25 years.

“Russia needed clarity with respect to the use of right of our Black Sea navy to use the base at Ukraine’s Sevastopol. The term was extended by 25 years, and with the right to be extended by five more years unless either party terminates the contract. This is going to create best guarantees for security in the Black Sea basin,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared after completed the talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, as cited by ITAR-TASS.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the heritage of the Soviet Black Sea navy became a thorny issue between the successor states of Russia and Ukraine.

The first step to resolve it was the signing in August 1992 in Yalta of an agreement regarding the principles for the setting up of the individual navies of the successor states.

The ensuing negotiations were completed in May 1997 when in Kiev the two countries signed an agreement regulating the dispute which leased the Sevastopol naval base to Russia until 2017.

Under the newly signed agreement, the Russians will have the right to use the Sevastopol base till 2042, or even till 2049, if the second, five-year extension clause kicks in.

Shortly after his election to the Ukrainian Presidency in February 2010, Yanukovich made it clear his administration would reverse the widely seen as anti-Russian course of his predecessor Yushchenko including by extended the lease of the Sevastopol base to the Russian navy.

The agreement that Russia and Ukraine signed Wednesday also featured an unprecedented deal with respect to the prices of Russian gas imported by the latter.

Under the new deal, Ukraine is getting a sizable discount. The two states agreed to use as base price USD 330 per 1 000 cubic meters. If the gas price goes above that level, Ukraine will be getting discount of USD 100 per 1 000 cubic meters; if it is below that level, the discount will be 30%.

Yanukovich said Ukraine planned to import 30 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas in 2010 and 40 billion in 2011.

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Tags: Viktor Yanukovich, Dmitry Medvedev, Sevastopol, naval base, Russian navy, Black Sea, Russian President, 2017, 1991, Soviet Union


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