DIVISION OF BLACK SEA FLEET DELAYED.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 150
Ukraine will not have received all its share of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet by today — its Navy holiday and the deadline agreed upon earlier by Ukrainian and Russian negotiators. A Ukrainian Navy spokesman said earlier in the week that Ukraine had accepted "only those ships that are fully fit for handover," and he indicated that 150 units were still to be transferred from the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The deadline, he said, has been moved to October. (Russian agencies, July 29)
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s press service said yesterday that the Ukrainian Navy had 40 warships, 60 auxiliary vessels, a naval air wing, and other shore facilities. It added that in the "near future," the Navy would also have a submarine. Prestige rather than military utility would seem to be driving this last acquisition. A token Ukrainian submarine force is likely to turn into a very expensive toy. (UNIAN, July 30)
For their part, the Russians are trying to paint their Black Sea Fleet in the best possible terms, but, after years of neglect, it is clear that the fleet is a pale shadow of its Soviet counterpart of six years ago. The fleet’s commander, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, made the unusual announcement earlier in the week that the fleet had reached an agreement with the 4th Air Army of the North Caucasus Military District for the long-range air support once supplied by its own aircraft. He also spoke proudly of the fleet’s newest warship — a unique, guided-missile surface effect ship named "Bora." It is equipped with eight SS-N-2 surface-to-surface missiles. However, the Bora is already eight years old and — with the exception of a sister-ship serving in the Baltic Fleet — no others are currently under construction. (Russian agencies, July 30)
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