Russia is Doubtful of Withdrawal of Black Sea Fleet in Spite of Ukraine’s Firm Position: Experts

Ukraine, Kiev, 25 June / corr. Trend Z. Novosvitski, E. Tanriverdiyeva/ Ukraine believes that Russia should admit that the Black Sea Fleet will be withdrawn from Ukraine's territory by 2017. However, Russia is doubtful of it.

"Russia resign itself to the fact that the Fleet will be withdrawn from the Ukrainian territory," the Ukrainian expert Aleksandr Paliy said. 

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Grigoriy Karasin stated on 23 June that Russia can offer Ukraine to put up the rent for the deployment of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea once the agreement expires.

As a reply, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Vasiliy Kirilich said on 24 June in a briefing that the Constitution of Ukraine does not include the deployment of the foreign forces in Ukrainian territory. "The term of deployment of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia in the Ukrainian territory expires on 28 May 2017. On 29 May 2017 the Black Sea Fleet must leave the Ukrainian territory," he said.

"I think no majority in the parliament will discuss this issue," Paliy, expert of the Institute for Foreign Policy of the Diplomatic Academy at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said to Trend .

According to Paliy, if Russia fixes the price of gas for Ukraine higher than that of All-European, Kiev can raise the issue of putting up rent for deployment of the Black Sea Fleet in its territory.

"The deployment of the Fleet in the Ukrainian territory longer than the agreed deadline that is after May 2017 will enable Ukraine to have financial and political leverage on Russia," expert said.

Paliy did not rule out the possibility Russia can try to aggravate situation within Ukraine.

"This may take place, but Ukraine does not have internal potential for separatism. If separatism is initiated by outer forces, that will be so evident and so conflictly that I think Russia will not risk doing so," he said.

According to Russian political scientist Sergey Markov, withdrawal of Black Sea Fleet from Ukraine was initiated by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vladimir Ogrizko, but it does not reflect the position of Ukrainian citizens and many other political forces in the country.

"Russia is not going to withdraw its Black See Fleet and is not going to leave it in spite of Ukrainian people's will. We hope Ukraine will become democratic in near future and country's Foreign Minister will stop voicing views of foreign impact centres, in particular Washington, and will voice the view of the people," Sergey Markov, Director of Moscow-based Institute of Political Studies, said to Trend in a telephone conversation.

According to Markov, Russia will sign an agreement on further presence of the Black Sea Fleet in the country only with the group which will express the real view of the Ukrainian people.

Black Sea Fleet is an operative and strategic association of Russian Navy at the Black Sea. Its main bases are located in Sevastopol (Ukraine) and Novorossiysk. It has a division of surface ships, several ship and rocket cutter brigades, as well as Novorossiysk navy basis, air force, coast troops, provision units. Since July 2007, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Kletskov is the commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

"Russia hopes Ukraine's people will resume its sovereignty, current 'orange' group will lose its political positions and a group which will express the real view of the Ukrainian people, not Washington, will come to power," Markov said.

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