Ukraine Wants Back to the USSR

MOSCOW, Russia -- Working groups from the Foreign Ministries of Russia and Ukraine finished their consultations on Thursday on the sea border on the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Kerch Bay. If Ukraine is unable to reach an agreement bilaterally with Russia, Kiev is prepared to defend its interests in international court.

Russian patrol on the Sea of Azov

The Ukrainian delegation's visit to Moscow came after the recent agreements between the presidents of the two countries on legal and treaty establishment of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The talks on the sea borders are a continuation of the policy of the new Ukrainian administration's policy of settling border problems with its neighbors. They were begun on March 22 of this year when Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu visited Kiev and an agreement was reached to renew consultations in the UN International Court on the sea borders of Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea.

Dmitry Svistkov, deputy head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry press service, summed up Ukraine's position before the delegation's departure. He said that Ukraine was interested in the quickest possible delimitation of the sea borders in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov along their entire perimeters. “As for the Kerch Bay, the boundary line from Soviet times should be confirmed,” he said.

The main source of contention between Russia and Ukraine over sea borders is the methods of defining them. Moscow is suggesting defining them on the seabed, while Ukraine insists that they should run on the surface of the water.

More evidence of the attention the new Ukrainian leadership is paying to border questions can be found in the information on the first 100 days of the new government distributed by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Among the six priorities for 2005, the third is “The borders of Ukraine: transparent for people and business, closed to criminals.” The text also mentions “significant work to settle issues concerning the state border on its whole perimeter, attracting broad international financial and technical aid to improve the border infrastructure.” The document also notes the need for greater cooperation of Ukraine with Russia and Romania in fishing, shipping and ecological security in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea and Kerch Bay.

This time, if Ukraine is unable to reach an agreement with Russia, it is prepared to defend its interests in international court. A 20-member expert group has been set up by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry for that purpose. “The group's main task is to make conclusions and evaluations and examine a number of highly specialized questions that will come up in the course of the negotiations in the UN International Court,” the document states.

Source: Kommersant