BALTIN "GRATEFUL" TO BE RELIEVED OF BLACK SEA FLEET COMMAND.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 27
Admiral Eduard Baltin, handing over his command of the Black Sea Fleet Monday to Vice Admiral Gennady Suchkov under orders from the Russian president, told news media he was very grateful to Boris Yeltsin for relieving him of his burden. "I could not hand over the fleet [to Ukraine] because it is not only Russia’s history but a part of Russia," said Baltin, who also bemoaned the loss of Russia’s positions in Crimea and, particularly, Sevastopol. Baltin maintained that the post of fleet commander is becoming increasingly formal. In related news, military sources in Kiev announced two days ago that, in accordance with existing agreements, the transfer of Ukraine’s share of fleet assets to the Ukrainian navy and local civilian authorities should be completed by March 10. Ukraine hopes that remaining fleet issues will be resolved when Yeltsin visits Kiev in April. Moscow, however, continues to condition that visit on prior resolution of those issues. (7)
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