Russia’s Federation Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution yesterday urging President Boris Yeltsin to raise the "disputed issue" of Sevastopol in Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental negotiations, including those involving a framework political treaty. The resolution calls on Russia’s executive branch to seek "official Ukrainian recognition of the existence of the problem" and to work out a "joint Russian-Ukrainian administration of Sevastopol as a separate territorial entity, with a special status, recorded in a Russian-Ukrainian agreement." Such an arrangement "would promote confidence between Russia and Ukraine," according to the resolution. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, April 17)
Drafted by a combination of nationalists and reformers, the resolution was approved by a Federation Council still comprised mostly of Yeltsin appointees and loyalists. The chamber had voted a similar resolution last November, matching those adopted by the Communist-dominated Duma.
Today’s issue of the governmental Rossiiskaia gazeta raises a further territorial issue — the "status of the Azov Sea," which it says "adds a further element of tension in the region." Moscow wants a "condominium" or common ownership of that sea, adjacent to the Black Sea and the Crimea, as opposed to Ukraine’s proposals to divide the sea into national sectors. (Itar-Tass, April 18) These claims risk impairing the detente recently apparent between Moscow and Kiev.
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