Ukraine Opposes Deployment Of Extra Submarines With Russia's Black Sea Fleet

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine is opposed to deploying more submarines with Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Crimea, spokesman for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Vasily Kyrylych said on Wednesday.

Lada class Russian submarine.

Commenting Russia's plans to deploy some new submarines with the Black Sea Fleet, Kyrylych stressed Russia could conduct modernization of the fleet only with Ukraine's consent, according to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

"Modernization of the Black Sea Fleet is possible only after the signing of appropriate agreements with Ukraine," he said.

"This is not a new issue. It was repeatedly discussed during the bilateral consultations, and the position of Ukraine on this issue is well known to the Russian side. We are opposed to increasing the number of military units of the Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the territory of Ukraine," Kyrylych added.

A senior Russian Navy official said on Tuesday that the Black Sea Fleet must have eight to 10 submarines in active service and the Navy plans to commission new Lada class vessels to meet the requirement.

"We are planning to deploy additional submarines with the Black Sea Fleet, including new Lada class vessels, but our plans are being hampered by Ukraine, which sees this as the deployment of new weaponry rather than an upgrade of the existing fleet," said Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Navy General Staff.

The Black Sea Fleet currently deploys one Project 877 Kilo class diesel-electric submarine, while an outdated Project 641 Foxtrot class sub is undergoing a long-term overhaul.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine's Crimea as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017.

The Ukrainian authorities repeatedly emphasized that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the base for Russia's Black Sea Fleet beyond 2017, and urged Russia to start preparations for a withdrawal.

Source: Xinhua