Ukraine`s foreign minister has said Russia should start preparing to withdraw its Black Sea Fleet from the Sevastopol base, which it rents in Ukraine`s Crimea, according to RIA Novosti.
Volodymyr Ohryzko said in an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia published on Thursday that Ukraine has no plans to push for an early pullout of the Black Sea Fleet.
"Ukraine is a reliable business partner. We will honor all obligations under the existing treaties." However, "Russia should start without delay making preparations for the withdrawal of its fleet in 2017."
He said Kyiv had asked Moscow to agree on a withdrawal procedure, but that no response has yet been received.
"We do not understand the position of Russia, which simply refuses to discuss the issue... But let me assure you that in any event, after 2017, there will be no Russian fleet on our soil," he said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia is ready to negotiate with Ukraine on the use of the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea, but will not let Kyiv dictate terms.