Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 164

At a negotiating session December 27 in Moscow, delegations of Ukraine’s and Russia’s Defense Ministries again failed to finalize a draft intergovernmental agreement on the sale of Ukrainian strategic bombers and air-launched cruise missiles to Russia. At issue are 25 Tupolev-95 MS and 19 Tupolev-160 bombers, and nearly 700 cruise missiles, all inherited by Ukraine from the ex-USSR’s air force. The session considered possible forms of payment in cash, aviation equipment, or deduction of the airplanes’ and missiles’ value from Ukraine’s trade debts to Russia. But the sides disagreed on the prices, with the Russian side setting the value of the bombers at $200 million and the Ukrainians at a substantially higher though undisclosed level. The negotiations will continue into 1996. Meanwhile, Ukraine did permit the transfer to Russia on December 19 of a group of six Tupolev-22 tactical bombers from the Crimea. (13)

The two Defense Ministries’ top leaderships had agreed in principle, at their November 23-24 meeting in Sochi, to effect a commercial transfer of only some of these assets from Ukraine to Russia. The Russian side afterward sought this entire complement of bombers and missiles. A first negotiating session in Moscow December 4 and 5 failed to produce agreement on the price and other terms of the sale. The bombers and cruise missiles appear to have been separated from their nuclear warheads. Ukraine reported earlier this month that it had separated and deactivated 90 percent of the nuclear warheads from launchers of various types it inherited from the USSR.

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