KIEV, February 10 (Itar-Tass) — Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Vladimir Litvin has refuted a statement by National Security and Defense Council Secretary Anatoly Kinakh that the rent on Black Sea Fleet facilities may increase from $97 million to $1.8 billion a year.
“Being a member of the National Security and Defense Council, I can tell you that the council did not make that decision,”? Litvin said after a Kiev session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly.
“First of all, we should calm down, make an inventory, reach an agreement, and make a serious decision based on the strategic interests of both nations,”? he said.
Meanwhile, Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov thinks that “claims of a higher rent on Black Sea Fleet facilities in the Crimea are an element of the Ukrainian election campaign.”?
“We have valid fundamental agreements. These are normal agreements, which have to be fulfilled,”? he said. “We are good neighbors and two fraternal peoples, and any political forces have no right to interfere in neighborly relations.”?
Kinakh announced the possible increase of the rent on Black Sea Fleet facilities and land lots after a Wednesday meeting of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chaired by President Viktor Yushchenko.
“As we are making an inventory [of facilities and land lots rented by the fleet], we will draw new estimates and enact new charges,”? he said. Judging by estimates of the State Committee on Land Resources, the rent on land lots will be no less than $1.8 billion per year, Kinakh said.
Plenty of the facilities are not mentioned in fundamental agreements and addendums, he said. “However, Ukraine will continue to meet its commitments under the fundamental agreements on the Russian Black Sea Fleet presence on its territory and will not review the period of the fleet’s temporary deployment,”? he said.
According to the bilateral agreement on the status and terms of deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine of May 28, 1997, the fleet will be based in Sevastopol until the year 2017. The agreements set the annual rent at $97 million in an offset for the Ukrainian gas debt, which amounted to $3.074 billion in 1997.