Ukraine intends to raise the rent for the Black Sea ports and facilities used by the Russian fleet from the current $93 million annually to the market-based figure that could run into $1.8 billion, a senior official said Thursday.
Against the backdrop of a dispute over a lighthouse and other facilities on the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula, Anatoliy Kinakh, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said he had instructed relevant agencies Wednesday to calculate the rent for the Russian Black Sea Fleet according to modern market conditions.
Ukrainian authorities indicated on Wednesday, Feb. 8, that they are ready to denounce a natural gas agreement with Russia that was signed last month amid persistent differences in the way Moscow and Kiev believe the agreement should be implemented.
Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov, opening a government meeting on Wednesday, suggested that Russia has been apparently growing unhappy and persistently opposing some parts of the agreement. “We told the Russian side: We are ready to denounce the agreement or certain clauses in the agreement if it doesn’t satisfy the Russian side, and to prepare the new one,” Yekhanurov said, quoted by the UkrainianJournal.com.
Yekhanurov didn’t disclose what the differences were, but the development comes amid deadlock in talks between the two governments as Russia has been apparently refusing to guarantee steady gas prices during the next five years.
This is the first time Ukraine officially mentioned an option of denouncing the agreement, which was signed on Jan. 4 to end a natural gas dispute that had resulted in disruptions of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Russia's defense minister said Thursday that Ukraine could destabilize its domestic situation by joining NATO.
"Ukraine's possible accession to NATO is a very sensitive issue. Attempts to drastically reorient [itself] towards western values could prove a major destabilization factor, above all for Ukrainian society, since a year of democratic reform has not yielded noticeable results," Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, told La Stampa newspaper ahead of his visit to Rome where he is expected to take part in a Russia-NATO Council meeting, which will take place on the sidelines of the informal meeting of NATO defense ministers.
This is rather alarming, actually. The Ukrainians are going to renounce the agreement and stop the gas again, point one. They are also going to start charging Russia for the Sebastopol base at a rate that is 20 times what it is now. Then, after the Russians made such an interesting comment before, the Russian Defense Minister goes on the record saying that Ukraine will probably destablize. After Russia's funny little comment I have to wonder if that is a threat to induce seperatism on the model of Georgia's problems. Crimea might be ripe for this or perhaps, but lesser so, the Donbass Region. IDK. I think we're just going to fish out the family and make an end to all this mess.