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Expert: Back in 1997, Russians planted a time bomb by designating Sevastopol as the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet

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The Russians received more than 80% of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet as compensation for the alleged gas used by Ukraine. By designating Sevastopol as the main base of the Black Sea Fleet, Russia laid a «time bomb» for Ukraine back in 1997.

Pavlo Lakiychuk, Head of Security Programmes at the Centre for Global Studies «Strategy XXI», discussed this on Hromadske Radio.

On 28 May 1997, an agreement was signed on the basing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at a military base in Ukrainian Crimea.

Lakiychuk recalled that initially, it was planned to «divide» the Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Ukraine and Russia on a 50-50 basis. However, a «strange story about the fleet in exchange for gas» later began.

«Then it turned out that we had some mythical debts for gas, and due to these debts, a significant part of the ships and parts had to go to the Russian Federation as payment for this virtual gas.

Eventually, after long negotiations, three agreements were signed in 1997. The first stipulated that more than 80% of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet would be transferred to Russia. Accordingly, this agreement compensated Ukraine for the gas it consumed. The third agreement provided for the basing of units of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, including at the naval bases of Sevastopol, Feodosia, the Guardian Air Base, and others», — Lakiychuk explained.

He also noted that Russia planted a «time bomb» by designating Sevastopol as the main base of the Black Sea Fleet:

«We said we did not object. At the same time, the Russians said that by «main base» they meant the territorial status of Sevastopol. That is, Sevastopol, according to their plan, was supposed to become a kind of Gibraltar on the territory of Spain, a Russian outpost on the territory of Ukraine. But they failed thanks to our diplomacy… Everything would have been fine if the Russians had kept their promises and left Sevastopol in 2017», — Lakiychuk said.

According to him, even before the signing of the notorious Kharkiv Agreements in 2010 on the basing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, the Russians demonstrated a brazen unwillingness to leave the Ukrainian peninsula.

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