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Ukraine Mulls Charging Russia More For Naval Base Rental

Onlookers watch part of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol (AFP) 17 January 2006 -- Ukraine is considering quadrupling the price it charges to Russia to base its Black Sea fleet in a Ukrainian port.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hritsenko was quoted today as making that comment by the newspaper "Kommersant-Ukrayina."

The move comes amid deteriorating relations between two countries concerning the price of natural gas and on navigation rights in Crimea.

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said Kyiv is now planning to make an inventory of Ukrainian property used by the Black Sea Fleet.

"We have to make a proper inventory finally," Ohryzko said. "We assume that the Russian side is also interested in this and we hope we will meet no obstacles in this regard. Otherwise, Russia will be obviously violating its obligations."

Under a 1997 agreement, Ukraine allowed Russia's Black Sea Fleet to remain in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol until 2017, charging an annual rate of some $98 million.


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