Black Sea Fleet deal with Ukraine satisfies Medvedev

09:18, April 28, 2010      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday voiced satisfaction with the Black Sea Fleet agreement signed with Ukraine, saying payment for the newly extended lease was not overpriced and the deal would benefit both countries.

"The rent we are paying for our fleet base is high but it is not excessive, because we have a strategic partnership with Ukraine," Medvedev was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.

"This is not just a question of money for us. Cooperation with Ukraine in the military field improves the level of trust between our countries," he said.

Earlier in the day, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the price was too high.

Medvedev also said he was glad to see that the Ukrainian parliament had ratified the agreement, despite protests in and outside the parliamentary building.

"I am very pleased. This shows a triumph of reason and strategic interests over short-term emotions," he said.

The Russian State Duma and Ukrainian Parliament on Tuesday ratified the deal, prolonging the stay of the Russian navy in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol in the Crimea until 2042.

The Russian Federation Council is expected to consider the final ratification on Wednesday, and the deal will then be forwarded to the presidents for signing into force.

The Russian fleet in Sevastopol comprises 16,200 servicemen, a rocket cruiser, a large destroyer and about 40 other vessels. The existing lease expires in 2017.



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