Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has said that the Russian Black Sea Fleet will be deployed on the Ukrainian territory only until 2017, according to Itar-Tass. “The Constitution of our country does not provide for the deployment of foreign military bases on the territory of Ukraine,” Yushchenko said at a press conference in Kharkov on Wednesday.
“There should be no more discussion on the problem. Let us put an end to it,” he added. Yushchenko reminded that the Russian Black Sea Fleet was deployed on the territory of Ukraine on a temporary basis, until 2017, in accordance with transitional provisions of the Constitution. At the same time, he stated clearly that “Ukraine will fulfil the Ukrainian-Russian agreement on the deployment of the Russian fleet in full volume.”
Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko said on Tuesday that theoretically it was possible to prolong the deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine after 2017, but practically it would be very difficult. “In order to prolong the deployment of the Black Sea Fleet on the Ukrainian territory after 2017, amendments should be made in the Ukrainian Constitution. People who come to hold the key posts in 2015 will decided whether or not it should be done,” he said.
Under the bilateral agreement on the status and terms of the deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine, dated May 28, 1997, the Black Sea Fleet will be deployed in Sevastopol for 20 years – until 2017. Under basic agreements on the Black Sea Fleet, Russia pays to Ukraine 97 million dollars a year, which are counted in as the payment of the Ukrainian debt to Russia for energy carriers.