The command of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet says it is completing on schedule the handover to Ukraine of 52 ships and approximately 100 coastal installations in the Crimea. The handover operation is due to be completed on July 25 for the ships and on August 1, Ukrainian Navy Day, for the coastal installations. Only 11 ships to be transferred are combat units, including mainly patrol boats, ASW boats, missile cutters, and one submarine, according to a statement yesterday by Russian Admirals Aleksandr Grinko and Boris Chernyshev, who are in charge of the transfer. Most coastal installations being handed over appear insignificant, with the possible exception of six military posts in Sevastopol, a frogmen’s base, an armored vehicle depot, and some communications installations. Some of these installations are at least temporarily supposed to be used jointly by Ukrainians and Russians. Chernyshev recently acknowledged that the assets being handed over are mostly in bad shape because of a lack of maintenance funds.
The Ukrainian naval command says it has managed to form crews for all the ships it is taking over. However, the Ukrainians have thus far agreed to receive only six combat ships and a dozen shore installations; they balk at the other assets because the Russians have stripped them of much valuable equipment and armaments. (Ukrainian agencies, July 21, 23; DINAU, July 24)
Agreements signed by the Russian and Ukrainian presidents and prime ministers in late May has made possible this progress in dividing the fleet. The agreements followed five years of tense negotiations that generated considerable political side-effects. The partition is, however, unbalanced insofar as Russia receives the lion’s share of the ships, particularly of the combat units. The dual use arrangements are being regarded by both sides with reservations and could lead to misunderstandings in the future.
Death Sentence for Saboteur in Azerbaijan.