Ukraine Wants Schedule For Russian Fleet Pullout

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine proposed during the latest round of talks on the Black Sea Fleet that the issue of a withdrawal schedule be entered on the agenda, First Deputy Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet

"The fleet's withdrawal is no easy task. There are 14,000 Russian servicemen currently based in Ukraine, plus a large amount of military hardware, weapons and ammunition. All this must be prepared and removed. Ukraine must then take over all facilities and property in proper order. So, there's a great deal to be done and this work must be started on time," the Ukrainian diplomat said in an interview with the newspaper Delo, published on Wednesday.

Ohryzko confirmed that extending the agreement on the temporary presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea beyond 2017 would be at odds with the Ukrainian constitution.

"Prolongation of the temporary agreement is impossible because this would go against the Ukrainian constitution. Russia must prepare itself for withdrawing the Black Sea Fleet on time. The location of a large foreign military base in Ukraine is a problem for the country's national security. But the meaning of this is missed for some reason," he said.

Ohryzko said that extension of the agreement was not being discussed and was not likely to be discussed in the future.

Source: Interfax