Ukrainian minister: Russia cannot unilaterally replace Black Sea Fleet ships

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April 28, 2010, 6:32 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
A recent treaty extending the 1997 lease accord allowing the Russian Black Sea Fleet to keep its base in Crimea does not authorize Russia to replace any of the fleet's ships without Ukraine's consent, Ukraine's foreign minister said on April 27. The matter is not up for discussion as the 1997 treaty "clearly stipulates" that Russia needs Ukraine's approval for replacing any of the fleet's ships, Kostiantyn Hryschenko said at a news conference in Kyiv.

On top of that there remain some debatable points concerning the existence of the base, Hryschenko said.

"Nothing has been added and no change has been made to the text of the [1997] agreement itself, to the rights and duties and the parties that are stipulated by the basic agreement, which means that there are several issues that remain unsettled," he said.

He expressed hope that those problems, including disputes over hydrographic installations, would soon be taken up by the sub-committee on the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission.
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