Ukraine: Presence of BSF in Sevastopol is Questionable Again


“Russia admits termination of the Kharkov treaty if Ukraine applies to court for revision of gas contracts”, said on Sept 7 Alexei Urin, counselor of Russian embassy in Ukraine and director of economic policy group. As for him, Ukraine’s appeal to Strasbourg Court may have very serious repercussions leading to rupture of the Kharkov agreements, writes KMnews.

In addition, if the Black Sea Fleet​ treaty is dissolved, Ukraine would have to pay back money to Russia granted as a discount on natural gas. Since the day the Kharkov agreements came into effect, Ukraine has received a $6-bln discount on Russian gas, reminded the diplomat.

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich​ is sure that denunciation of gas agreements signed in 2009 will by no means cause termination of the Kharkov treaty.

Recall that in accordance with the agreement tied between Russia and Ukraine in Apr 2010 in Kharkov, the price on Russian gas for Ukraine was 30% reduced. In exchange, presence of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea was prolonged till 2042. Commenting that agreement, Yanukovich said: “If we had not done that.., we would have lost not only our industry but the entire country. My answer to those politicians and so-called patriots fencing around this issue – I did that consciously with the view to save the country and made that step together with the government”.

For Russia, the Kharkov agreements resolved the problem of Black Sea Fleet withdrawal from Sevastopol in 2017 and gave tone of friendship and alliance to Russo-Ukrainian relations. Unprecedented discount on gas price for Ukraine was justified, since on the other scale was future of Black Sea Fleet and Russia’s presence in the post-Soviet space.

Concurrently with that, Moscow Government adopted amendments to the city budget 2012 annulling Moscow’s financing of Black Sea Fleet under patronage program. As for Moscow lawmakers, the fleet should be financed by defense ministry but not by the capital city.

Member of parliamentary committee for CIS affairs Konstantin Zatulin described amendments as “thoughtless decisions made by computerlike formalists”. According to Zatulin, Moscow authorities “flatter themselves that the fleet’s problems are resolved on federal level, but sometimes defense ministry’s leaders just worsen the situation”. “The fleet stationed in Crimea is stabilizing factor of Russia’s policy, but defense ministry even fails to tell the difference between ships moored in Russian harbors and in Sevastopol”, Zatulin said.

Source: rusnavy, September 14, 2011;