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Moscow, Kiev Not To Play 'Political Games' Over Russian Black Sea Fleet Stay

Russian Naval Vessel in Black Sea Port in Ukraine
Moscow, 5 June: The Russian Federation and Ukraine will not play "political games" over the Russian Black Sea Fleet presence in the Crimea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych promised to resolve the Black Sea Fleet issue without damaging "strategic friendly relations with Russia". The deadline for the Russian Black Sea Fleet presence in the Crimea has been extended for 25 years after 2017 with a possible prolongation.

"Basic agreements on the Black Sea Fleet have been signed, and absolutely no-one casts any doubt on them. But these basic agreements stipulate that details of all sorts regarding various issues arising during the stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory are to be agreed in additional accords," Lavrov said in an interview to Ekho Moskvy radio.

Lavrov pointed out that "several dozen" such additional accords "have been signed". "And there remain some draft documents that are still being discussed."

"There are situations when the absence of such legal accords creates problems. But with the incumbent Ukrainian leadership we have an absolute reciprocal understanding that there is no need to start some political games owing to the absence of such detailed agreements, but to sit down and resolve these issues in a professional and competent manner," the minister said.

(Ukrainian-Russian talks on the Black Sea Fleet personnel's movement on Ukrainian territory continue, Lavrov said, according to Ekho Moskvy news agency. He explained that this applies to situations when "servicemen of the Russian Black Sea Fleet need to move from one navy base to another and, in doing so, to cross territory that is not covered by the basic agreements". "These are absolutely routine issues and they need to be resolved," Lavrov said)

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