Despite a warning that President Boris Yeltsin would definitely veto it, the State Duma yesterday passed a bill directing that the division of the former Soviet Black Sea fleet between Russia and Ukraine be halted immediately. It’s not the first time the Duma has tried — unsuccessfully — to stop the process. The justifications for the bill were that the 1992 Sochi agreement between Russia and Ukraine had expired and that the two countries had not agreed on a comprehensive settlement of the issue as required. The bill called on the government to stop turning over ships and bases to Ukraine. (Interfax, October 16 1996)
That process nevertheless continued. The commanders of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy met at the base in Feodosia, on the Crimean Peninsula, to discuss turning more of that garrison over to Ukraine. As part of the second stage of the fleet’s division, Ukraine would get some 50 warships and support vessels now based at Feodosia. (Rossiiskaya gazeta, October 16 1996)
While the admirals were meeting, Ukrainian officials demonstrated their authority in Feodosia. Ukrainian authorities detained a large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet that had carried a "rocket installation" from the Caucasus about two weeks ago and had used it for test firings at a test site in Feodosia. The Russian fleet was said to be planning to return the weapon to Russian forces in the southern Caucasus. The Ukrainian government had not been consulted in the matter and said the ship would be detained until all the circumstances surrounding the incident were explained. (Interfax-Ukraine, 16 October 1996)
Azerbaijani Parliament Elects New Speaker.