Ukraine implements tougher rules on Russian navy
Friday, August 15, 2008
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko issued a decree limiting the movement of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukrainian waters in response to its deployment in a blockade of Georgia's sea ports during the Russia-Georgia conflict. Ukraine has already before urged Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia's territory. Last weekend Ukraine threatened to refuse the Russian vessels reentry to the Sevastopol naval base if they became involved in the conflict in Georgia.
The Russian fleet is based in Sevastopol on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula under an agreement signed between Russia and Ukraine. Under the terms of the decree, the Russian navy is compelled to obtain Ukrainian permission 72 hours in advance of the departure of any of its warships or aircraft. Ukraine's foreign ministry would be empowered to demand a vessel leave Ukrainian territory if the Russians did not comply.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the Ukrainian move as reflecting "an obsessive desire to please NATO and join it." Russian deputy chief of General Staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, dismissed the decree as "nonsense" and said that the order would make Russia's Black Sea Fleet subordinate to the Ukrainian government. According to Russian RIA Novosti news agency, Yushchenko sent a proposal to Russia on Friday to draft a bilateral agreement on the Russian Black Sea fleet deployed in Ukraine.
The Russian fleet blocked several Ukrainian vessels in the Georgian port of Poti but within a couple of days they were released. Georgian Chief of Staff Serhiy Kirichenko said on Thursday that the presidential decree would be carried out, no matter what.
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- Associated Press. "Russia dismisses Ukraine attempt to limit navy" — , August 14, 2008
- "Ukraine vows to implement orders on Russia fleet" — , August 14, 2008
- "Richard Holbrooke: “Putin’s next target will be Ukraine”" — , August 11, 2008
- "Ukraine says it reserves right to bar Russian navy" — , August 10, 2008