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Ukraine Urges Market-Based Solution For Black Sea Fleet

Anatoliy Kinakh says market considerations should be applied to all areas of economic relations (file photo) (epa) 13 February 2006 -- Ukrainian officials are calling for market-based relations with Russia on the eve of consultations over the status of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Anatoliy Kinakh said the principle of market-based relations should apply to all sectors of economic relations, including the basing of the fleet.

Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said this was not linked in any way to a recent dispute between Ukraine and Russia over gas prices.

Under a 1997 agreement, Russia's Black Sea Fleet was allowed to remain in the Crimean port of Sevastopol until 2017, at an annual rent of more than $90 million.

Ukrainian officials have suggested recently the rent could be raised, while Russia says Kyiv should abide by the 1997 agreement.

At the consultations on 14 February, the two sides will be represented by deputy foreign ministers.

(Ukrayinska pravda, RIA Novosti, AP)