RUSSIAN DUMA PASSES BILL AIMED AT HALTING BLACK SEA FLEET PARTITION.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 34
By a vote of 315 to 1 on February 14, the Russian Duma overrode a Federation Council veto of a Duma bill to end "unilateral reductions" of the Russian-controlled Black Sea Fleet. President Boris Yeltsin is now required to sign the bill into law. The bill prohibits manpower cuts in the fleet, changes to its organizational structure, relocation of its ships or its air or land units, and the transfer of coastal infrastructure or shipyards to Ukraine until Russian-Ukrainian treaties on the fleet’s future are signed and ratified. (11)
The bill is clearly intended to stop the partition of the Black Sea Fleet between Russia and Ukraine and to retain Russian naval bases and other military facilities in Crimea. However, the bill probably comes too late to make a substantial difference. Most coastal installations have already been transferred to Ukraine, the partition of the fleet is proceeding according to agreements between the two countries’ presidents, and the Russian Defense Ministry and naval command have decided to save scarce resources for the Northern and other fleets at the expense of the Black Sea Fleet.
Kuchma Awarded Freedom Prize.