Kuchma: Russia-Ukraine deal on Black Sea Fleet legitimate

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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.
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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:21 p.m.    

Correct. Chapter XV Paragraph 14 allows the the continuance of military bases under lease that were in existence at the time the constitution was promulgated. The issue at had is the terms of the new lease. The old lease included the right for an extension. any new lease should remove any notion of extension and also should include that Russia meet the costs of an environmental clean up of the site and infrastructure renewal. Russia should be required to also pay a deposit to cover this cost. The proposed extension of the lease allow Ukraine more time to properly plan the redevelopment of the area. Ukraine has much more important issues to address then to worry about a fledgling Russian military base in Crimea.

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 8:43 p.m.    

I agree in most part but why should Russia assume all the costs. For the most part it was a 'Soviet' port. And since Kruschev, a Ukrainian himself, 'gifted' the Ukraine with the Crimea during Soviet times, it would be kind if Ukraine 'gave thanks' to Russian generosity for ceding such a vitally strategic piece of property to Ukraine. Remember, Crimea's majority is Russian, not Ukrainian.

And if Western Ukraine wants to engage in lengthy mass protests with funding help of U.S. CIA/NOAs like it did in the Orange Revolution (which was funded by my tax dollars but without my permission - so much for U.S. democracy) then I feel sorry for Ukraine.

I like the Ukraine very much. I've been to some cities there. The people are great. But now is a great opportunity for Ukraine to rid itself of debts and build opportunities with its slavic neighbor to the north and others. All Ukrainians should work together to build the economy and get the country to a level like the Eastern Europeans (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia) are enjoying.

I think it's a chance for Ukraine to set an example for Russia too. IF Russians see a successful Ukraine, what do you think they are going to want??????

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