By a margin of 106 to 25, Russia’s Federation Council voted yesterday to ratify the interstate treaty with Ukraine. The chamber added, however, a condition under which the treaty would take legal effect only after the Ukrainian parliament ratifies a set of three bilateral agreements on the basing of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine. The interstate treaty and the fleet basing agreements were signed by Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in May 1997.
The Ukrainian parliament ratified the treaty the following year. Russia’s Duma followed suit last December after the Communist Party dropped its objections to the treaty’s recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It was left to non-communist nationalists led by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to resist the treaty in the Federation Council, with initial success (see the Monitor, January 27-29). In yesterday’s debate, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov proposed the conditional ratification. That condition persuaded many senators to drop their initial opposition to the treaty (Itar-Tass, February 17). –VS
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT LIFTS LAZARENKO’S IMMUNITY.