News / Europe

Russian Fleet Concerns NATO's Black Sea Members

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Wednesday's agreement by Moscow and Kyiv to extend the Russian Black Sea Fleet lease in the port city of Sevastopol does not represent a Ukrainian drift toward Russia. VOA correspondent reports from the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.

Asked about the Russian-Ukrainian Black Sea fleet agreement, Secretary of State Clinton said the decision by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych should be seen as an attempt to balance his country's foreign policy, not a step away from the West toward Russia.

"I think that given Ukraine's history and geographic position, that balancing act is a hard one, but it makes sense to us," she said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen said the Russian-Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet agreement is a bilateral arrangement.

"We decided that Ukraine, and Georgia by the way, will become members of NATO, provided of course that they show a wish, and provided that they fulfill the necessary criteria," said Rasmussen.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych cooperated with NATO when he was prime minister, but now says the Ukrainian people are not ready for membership in the Western alliance. Russia opposed NATO expansion in Eastern Europe and remains adamant that Ukrainian and Georgian membership in the alliance would upset regional security.

Mr. Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced the fleet agreement will extend Russia's lease on the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol through at least 2042. Mr. Medvedev says his country needed predictability for its fleet, which had been scheduled to leave in 2017.

He and Mr. Yanukovych agree it creates the needed assurances, adding that he and Mr. Yanukovych are in agreement that it creates bigger and better guarantees for European security in the Black Sea Basin.

But that assurance is not universally shared. Marina Luzhikova, Moscow editor of the Regional Strategic Research Magazine, told VOA the Ukrainian-Russian agreement was reached hastily with little consideration for its international ramifications.

For example, she points to Ukraine's territorial dispute with Romania over the Black Sea's oil-rich Snake Island.

Luzhikova notes that Romania has expressed concern Ukraine may turn to a third power to protect its interests. To avoid such misunderstanding, Ukrainian leadership should act within a legal framework and reach various international agreements within that framework. Otherwise, she cautions, they will be nullified, and will place Ukraine's international partners in awkward positions.

Luzhikova says Bulgarian and Romanian diplomats at the NATO conference are expressing private reservations about the Russian-Ukrainian agreement. A Bulgarian diplomat told VOA Black Sea countries are concerned about the influence the Russian fleet may exert in the region during the next quarter century.

The diplomat raised particular concern about Moscow's interest in purchasing French Mistral helicopter carriers. He notes these are assault ships designed for offense, not defense, and wonders what use they have in the Black Sea.

Members of the Ukrainian opposition are protesting the fleet agreement as illegal. Marina Luzhikova mentions several of their objections.

Luzhikova says the agreement violates the Ukrainian constitution, the country's national security act, its national defense doctrine, and the national security doctrine.

Chapter One, Article 17 of the Ukrainian constitution prohibits the presence of foreign military bases in Ukraine.

The opposition claims the agreement will also make it impossible for Ukraine to pursue non-aligned status, independent of Moscow and NATO.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs