Pro-Russia Protest Against US Frigate In Sevastopol

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- Pro-Russia protesters cried "NATO out" Wednesday as a US naval frigate arrived in the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea fleet is also based.

Activists from the Ukrainian Communist Party and Russian Bloc protest as the USS Klakring sails into Sevastopol. The pro-Russia protesters cried "NATO out" as the US warship arrived in the Ukrainian port -- where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based.

The USS Klakring docked at 0630 GMT, as about 250 largely communist and far-left demonstrators also shouted "Yankee go home!"

The frigate is in port for a five-day "friendly visit" and will not take part in any exercises, a Ukrainian navy statement said.

It is feared that Sevastopol in the Crimea, where the Russian fleet has maintained a presence for over 200 years, could become a flashpoint in strained relations between Russia and the West.

Russia signed a 20-year contract with Ukraine in 1997 to station its fleet in the Black Sea and makes an annual payment of 12 million dollars (nine million euros) to Kiev for the privilege.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly called for the fleet to leave Sevastopol when the lease expires in 2017.

Source: AFP

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