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Russian FSB Officers Leave Port In Ukraine's Crimea

A battleship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastapol's harbor
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- The last Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers stationed with Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea reportedly left the Ukrainian peninsula today, RFE/RL's Ukrainian and Russian services report.

Black Sea Fleet officials say the FSB's special department in Sevastopol has been fully transferred to Novorossiisk, another Russian Black Sea port.

The transfer of the FSB officers was made at the request of Ukrainian officials who demanded that the FSB officers leave Ukrainian territory by December 13.

A reported 19 FSB officers have been working in Sevastopol since 2000.

Ukraine's State Security Service Chairman Valentyn Nalivaychenko said earlier this year that security for Russia's Black Sea Fleet should be provided by Ukrainian counterintelligence officers after the FSB officers leave.

But Russian Black Sea Fleet commanders said no Ukrainian counterintelligence officers would be allowed aboard Russian vessels or to places where the fleet is stationed, adding that Russian sailors would be able to maintain security for themselves.