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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Black Sea Treaty Violations

19 April 2005 -- Ukraine has accused Russia of violating a treaty governing the Russian navy's use of a Black Sea port.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dmitro Svistkov, said today that Russian warships are polluting Sevastopol harbor and other waters, thus violating treaty terms on ecological protection.

"Land and buildings are being sublet [by Russia] to other individuals or companies for purposes other than stated [in the agreement," Svistkov said. "There are cases of construction, reconstruction, and demolition of buildings on the leased land without proper authorization by the [Ukrainian] supervisory authorities. Selected plots of land and buildings on lease are being used without due payment. There are also some ecological violations."

Svistkov also said Russia is refusing to turn over some shore-based ship navigation installations, as Moscow promised in the 1997 treaty.

The agreement allows Russia to base its Black Sea fleet in the Ukrainian port city and its environs until 2017.

The south Crimean coast is a major Ukrainian tourist region.

Russia is sensitive about its military installations in the region, which Moscow in some cases has operated since the late 1700s.

The previous Ukrainian government was friendly toward Russia and generally ignored conflicts over points of the Black Sea Fleet.