Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 63

Only days before the scheduled Russian-Ukrainian summit and treaty signing in Kiev, Ukrainian prime minister Yevhen Marchuk said over the weekend that Moscow and Kiev stood far apart on unresolved issues relating to the Black Sea Fleet. A working group cochaired by Deputy Prime Ministers Aleksey Bolshakov and Vasyl Durdinets suspended talks for the weekend following a deadlock on the status of Sevastopol and on the terms and duration of the basing of the Russian fleet in Ukraine. Alluding to Russian demands for exclusive basing rights in Sevastopol, foreign minister Hennady Udovenko told the diplomatic corps in Kiev that the Ukrainian navy must also have bases in Sevastopol "as a sovereign right of our country." President Leonid Kuchma implied that Boris Yeltsin is being misled by "opponents of equitable Russian-Ukrainian relations, who use a normal negotiating process to worsen the situation and raise political tensions." In Moscow, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin explained with reference to the Crimea that Russia needed "to defend its southern shores." (Interfax-Ukraine, March 29 and 30)

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