Ukraine plans to start fleet withdrawal talks with Russia
Ukraine FM already handed his Russian counterpart a draft memorandum
Ukraine plans to start consultations with Russia on the withdrawal of the Black Sea Fleet from Ukraine in June, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Vasyl Kyrylych said Wednesday, according to Xinhua.
He said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko during his recent visit to Moscow had handed his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a draft memorandum on the withdrawal of Russia`s Black Sea Fleet from the sea port of Sevastopol in southern Ukraine.
"In accordance with the memorandum, the consultations are due to start on June 1, 2008, on issues related with Russia`s withdrawal of the military units of the Black Sea Fleet from Ukraine`s territory," Kyrylych added.
However, news reaching here from Moscow reported that Russia dismissed the possibility of launching such talks this summer.
"During a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers on April 15 Ukraine handed Russia a draft memorandum outlining the stages and the order for Russia`s withdrawal from the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. Ukraine was told that Moscow would study the document, but discussion of the issue was not urgent," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Russia`s Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in the Crimea under a 1997 agreement allowing Russia to lease the base from its neighboring former Soviet republic until 2017.