Anatoliy Matviyenko, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration, said yesterday that Ukraine may consider raising the lease for land the Russian fleet is using for its deployment at Sevastopol. He said that might be done if Russia insists on raising the rate Ukraine pays for Russian natural gas deliveries to market prices.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said Matviyenko's remarks were a "knee-jerk reaction" to Russia's demands on gas tariffs.
Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, said there were no legal or any other grounds for revising a 1997 Russia-Ukraine agreement on stationing the Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol.
The agreement allows Russia to base its fleet at Sevastopol until 2017.