MP Zatulin: Ukraine To Try And Oust Russian Black Sea Fleet From Sevastopol

MOSCOW, Russia -- Ukraine will try to create unbearable conditions for the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Konstantin Zatulin, a State Duma deputy and director of the Institute of CIS Countries, said in his interview with RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

"Ukraine will try and create unbearable conditions for the fleet or try and get more money from it [Russia] for the fleet's basing in Sevastopol," he said.

"The Ukrainian authorities have tasked their secret services with provoking incidents involving Russian servicemen in Sevastopol to compromise them and subject them to a media smear campaign that would later cause revision of the agreement governing the Black Sea Fleet's basing," the State Duma member said.

Zatulin noted that the Russian Navy "has been named the culprit of the environmental problems facing the Black Sea". "Unless we pay attention to that, I am sure that the pressure exerted on Russia as far as the matter is concerned is to keep on increasing," he remarked.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk in his interview with the Vremya Novostei said on Wednesday that Ukraine did not question the Russian Black Sea Fleet's term of basing in the Crimea but would like revise the lease payment.

In particular, the current $97.75 a year lease payment for land and installations "is inadequate to their actual cost", the Ukrainian minister said. "We want to know the lease payment amount proceeding from domestic and world prices. To this end, installation and land inventory should be taken and the state of environment should be assessed," Tarasyuk explained.

Source: RIA Novosti