Russian and Ukrainian working groups conferred in Sevastopol yesterday on issues left unresolved by last year’s agreements on the division of the Black Sea Fleet. The meeting registered continued disagreement on most of those issues. Russia wants to share jurisdiction with Ukraine over a number of coastal facilities, seeks unrestricted overflight rights for its naval aviation over Ukrainian territory, and opposes the drawing of a border in the Azov Sea. Ukraine, viewing such demands as encroachments on sovereignty, seeks both undisputed control of its own land and airspace and a division of the Azov Sea into national sections.
Moscow wants some kind of relief from debts incurred by its fleet to Ukrainian energy suppliers and Sevastopol municipal utilities. Russian naval installations are constantly being disconnected from electricity and other services because of unpaid debts. Even so, the fleet complains of being forced to spend an inordinately large share of its budget to cover the costs of supplies and services.
Kyiv agreed in principle to provide radio frequencies for the use of the Russian fleet. Ukrainian representatives also scaled down the demand for Ukrainian ecological inspectors to have direct access to Russian ships. Ukraine will consider it sufficient for Russian ships to install antipollution devices. Fuel leaks and other polluting effects of Russian ships plague some sectors of Crimea’s waters. The talks promise to hobble along for some time, and the differences may impede parliamentary ratification of last year’s agreements on the partition and basing of the fleet (Itar-Tass and other Russian agencies, September 28).–VS
SHEVARDNADZE MAKES STATESMANLIKE OFFER ON ANNIVERSARY OF DEFEAT IN ABKHAZIA.