Ukraine does not consider extension of the stay of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on its territory after May 2017, chief of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service Vassily Kyrylych told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on the remarks of Russian Foreign Ministry’s ambassador at large Vladimir Dorokhin, according to Itar-Tass.
“Ukraine’s stand is clear-cut and easy to understand,” Kyrylych said. “Russia’s Black Sea Fleet must be withdrawn completely from Ukraine’s territory by the preset date.”
He said Ukraine’s stand is based on the provisions of the Constitution according to which there must be no military bases of other states on Ukraine’s territory.
Kyrylych recalled that on April 14, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vladimir Ogryzko, during his visit to Moscow, conveyed the draft memorandum envisaging coordination of comprehensive measures to ensure timely withdrawal of the Russian fleet from Ukraine’s territory.
Ambassador at large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Dorokhin noted on Wednesday that Russia wishes to continue its presence in Sevastopol after 2017, as the Black Sea Fleet has been there for 225 years. “We want to remain there,” the ambassador said, adding that Russia had not yet faced Ukraine officially with the matter of extending the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko had earlier instructed the government to draft the bill terminating from 2017 the operation of international agreements on the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on Ukraine’s territory. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that it is yet too early to discuss the duration of the Russian Black Fleet’s stay in Sevastopol.