KIEV, Russia -- Ukraine says Russia must stand by its agreement to withdraw its naval facilities from the Crimean Peninsula by 2007.
Russia is leasing the Black Sea Fleet's main base in Sevastopol from Ukraine under a 1997 agreement. The agreement offered the possibility of an extension but Ukraine Defense Minister Anatolly Hrytsenko says Russia has not taken steps to negotiate a new agreement, RIA Novosti said Wednesday.
"The Black Sea fleet must leave the Crimea by 2017. Period," Hrytsenko said.
RIA Novosti said the annual rent of about $100 million is deducted from Ukraine's debt for Russian energy supplies.
The Black Sea Fleet also has two airfields and a ship supply facility on the Crimean Peninsula.
Admiral Igor Kasatonov, a former Black Sea Fleet commander, told the news agency the new bases being built in the Caucasus will not compensate for Sevastopol'a loss.
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