Sunday, May 25, 2008

Government to set procedure for stay of foreign servicemen in Ukraine

The proposals on setting the procedure for the stay of foreign servicemen in Ukraine are currently being considered. They will also concern Crimea and Sevastopol, Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said following an extended meeting of the ministry's collegium.

Yekhanurov said that the Cabinet of Ministers is drafting respective resolutions that will set conditions for the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

The minister expressed hope that all of the previous agreements reached with the fleet and the Russian Defense Ministry would be executed, and the Russian side would have no grounds to speak "about the unclear position of Ukraine."

"Ukraine's position will be clear and understandable after the government's endorsement of resolutions. I would like us to speak longer on the language of documents, so that specialists and lawyers work more, whereas people with increased emotionality express their views less often," Yekhanurov said.

He stressed that Ukraine is not considering the issue of quicker withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Crimea. "There is a date, there are respective state agreements that should be observed," Yekhanurov said, adding that on May 29, Russia will have nine years to withdraw its fleet from Ukraine.

Asked on the recent incident with a torpedo found in Crimea late in April, he confirmed that it was a training rocket, whereas the incident itself was not an "emergency."