Ukraine to end agreements with Russia on Black Sea Fleet base

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Moscow, May 21 (UNI) Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko has signed a decree ordering the government to prepare by July 20 a draft law on terminating all international agreements on the presence of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

''The President has instructed the government to make a comprehensive assessment of the consequences of the temporary presence of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine within two months,'' RIA Novosti reported from Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, quoting the decree.

Currently, Russian Black Sea Fleet uses a range of naval facilities in the Crimea under an agreement signed in 1997, under which Ukraine agreed to lease naval facilities to Russia until 2017.

Russia pays 93 million dollars per year to lease the base from the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, which is paid for with Russian energy supplies.

Ukraine's intelligence services barred Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on May 12 from entering the country over his ''provocative'' statements regarding the ownership of the Black Sea city of Sevastopol.

Mr Luzhkov called for the disputed ownership of a Russian naval base in Sevastopol to be transferred back to Russia.

The head of the State Duma committee on CIS Affairs, Alexei Ostrovsky, said recently Russia could reclaim the Crimea if Ukraine was admitted to NATO.


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