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Ukraine/Russia: Black Sea Fleet Talks Continue

Kyiv, 1 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The office of Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Durdinets tells RFE/RL that Kyiv has invited a top-level Russian delegation to further talks on the Black Sea Fleet. Durdinets heads Ukraine's delegation, and his office today said talks are expected next week.

Durdinets yesterday told Interfax news agency that talks on the division of the fleet are to be completed before November 10. After talks in Moscow last month between Russia's Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma, Kuchma announced that agreements on the fleet would be signed by Chernomyrdin during a visit to Kyiv in mid-November.

Experts from each side continue talks in Sevastopol on issues, such as lease-payment mechanisms, which reports say will involve swapping mutual debts; and the actual division of Fleet equipment. The issue of Ukraine's Naval Forces headquarters was not discussed.

Durdinets yesterday returned from Sevastopol, where he held two days of talks with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Serov, the head of Moscow's delegation. Reports say these talks resulted in an accord on the status and conditions for the basing of the Russian part of the Fleet in Ukraine.

Russia's Minister for CIS cooperation, Aman Tuleyev, also participated in this week's Sevastopol talks.