Kuchma: Russia-Ukraine deal on Black Sea Fleet legitimate
April 24, 2010, 3:42 p.m. | Politics
— by Interfax-Ukraine
Former President Vladimir Putin aboard the Russian Navy's guided missile cruiser “Moskva” with former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in 2000
© Russia's Presidential Press and Information Office
The recent accords between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev, do not contradict the Ukrainian Constitution, according to Ukraine's second president Leonid Kuchma.
"The members of the opposition are currently trying to mislead the public about the legal aspect of the Kharkiv accords. Indeed, Article 17 of the Constitution stipulates that the deployment of foreign military bases is not allowed on the territory of Ukraine. But they are keeping silence about the fact, that there is Article 14 of the still effective Transitional Provisions of the fundamental law. According to it, I am quoting: 'The use of the existing military bases on the territory of Ukraine for a temporary stay of foreign military forces is allowed under the terms of lease and in a manner determined by international treaties signed by Ukraine and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.' In other words, the Constitution clearly allows the Black Sea Fleet's presence in Crimea subject to the procedures established by the constitution," Kuchma said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.