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Ukraine: Treaty on Russia`s Black Sea Fleet expires in 10 years but...

Asked about the possibility of prolonging the presence of Russia`s Black  Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol after 2017, prime minister Viktor Yanukovich replied that the government would always protect the national interests.

Asked about the possibility of prolonging the presence of Russia`s Black  Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol after 2017, prime minister Viktor Yanukovich replied that the government would always protect the national interests.

Taking account of the statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin that after 2017 Russia is ready to negotiate about the prolongation of fleet`s presence in the Crimea, it is an easy guess what conclusions have been made by Ukrainian jingoes: Yanukovich does not rule out this tantalizing possibility.

Therefore, the hackneyed subject of a betrayal of the national interests, loss of state sovereignty and satisfaction of Russia`s imperial ambitions came up.

The problem has been hacked to death so that few people try to understand why today Orange political forces raise hue and cry against the above prolongation, whereas the treaty with Russia on the Black Sea fleet expires in 10 years.

Consider the question: Does the presence of the Russian Navy in Sevastopol impair the national interests of Ukraine? The answer seems to be that the whole infrastructure of the region is connected with the Russia`s naval base.

Demands for the early withdrawal of Russia`s Black Sea fleet could be justified if the politicians proposed financing of the project of Sevastopol`s development right after the withdrawal of the Russian Navy.

Nonetheless, blather about the crafty Kremlin has been in the air ever since Ukraine achieved independence, and the Orange team does not give a hoot about Sevastopol residents who may well be left to their fate.

Some politicians often moan that Russia underpays for a lease of the Crimean land. Observers, including The Ukrainian Times, can think of no reason why Ukrainian government officials should not begin talks about the issue and set new terms of stationing of the Russia`s naval base.

The world now knows that Russia is ruled by pragmatists. It is to be wished that the same will happen in Ukraine. Among other things, the government has the authority to handle the Crimean land so that each Ukrainian can profit by it, and thereby the Yanukovich team may protect the national interests.

It is perfectly natural that the nation lives under conditions of a free-market economy and a foreign institution or company pays handsome money into the national budget, not pockets of, say, Olexiy Ivchenko, leader of a jingoist Ukrainian party and former chairman of the state gas company Neftegaz Ukrainy, who bought a new model of Mercedes Benz for one million hryvnias, misusing funds of the state-owned enterprise.

Why should a large investor be ousted, the more so as conflicts with the next-door neighbor, namely Russia, are detrimental to the national interests of Ukraine.                          

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Volodymyr Obolonsky

The Ukrainian Times, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 19, 2007

This news was monitored by the Action Ukraine Monitoring Service for the Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, Editor.

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