Moscow and Kiev hold fire on fleet
Tuesday 04 August 1992
President Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine's leader, announced they had agreed on the transition period after a meeting in the Crimea. Mr Yeltsin forecast that in three years relations betweenthe two states will have improved, allowing an amicable division. 'Society will get over its illness and there will be other realities,' he said. The agreement also proved that talk of the imminent collapse of the Commonwealth of Independent States was wrong, he added.
The problem of how to divide up the fleet has caused great friction between Moscow and Kiev, becoming a symbol of their many differences as they try to disengage themselves from the single political and economic unit that was the Soviet Union.
In a news conference after the talks at Mukhalatka, Mr Kravchuk said the two men would appoint the fleet's top command, which traditionally is Russian. 'The decision is important, well thought out and in accordance with the situation in Russia, Ukraine and Crimea and will calm the officers and ease the situation between the two countries,' he said.
The two presidents also moved closer toward a broad friendship treaty, ordering their ministers to prepare a final draft that would include co-ordination of prices for grain, sugar and oil.
Whether postponing the division of the fleet will solve some of the morale problems remains to be seen. Ukrainian officers have complained of discrimination in the fleet in favour of Russians. Thirty-one per cent of the officers and 61 per cent of the sailors are Ukrainian. The Ukrainian officers say they are treated unequally for promotion, shore leave and housing for their families.
The Russian commanders will have to give up senior positions if the joint command is to be seen to be fair. And the Ukrainians will have to give up their claims to control of the base facilities, which are on Ukrainian territory.
In addition, there is the question of who will pay for the fleet's operation during the transition period. Ukraine officials say they have been paying most of the bills since January in anticipation of taking over most of the fleet.
Even so, the doomsayers who predicted the Mukhalatka talks would result in no agreement appear to have been proved wrong. The critics had based their forecasts on the increasing tensions in the fleet after a coastguard vessel last month hoisted the Ukrainian flag instead of the Soviet ensign and defected from its base to the Ukrainian port of Odessa.
The two sides have agreed not raise their national flags until they decide how to share out the fleet. Most of the 45 large ships are so old that they are expected to be sold for scrap.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...