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NATO chief says Russia-Ukraine base deal won't affect ties

RIA Novosti


MOSOCW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - The extension of Russia's lease on its Black Sea Fleet base in Ukraine will not affect NATO's relations with Moscow and Kiev, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday.

"It's a bilateral agreement and it will not have an impact on our relationship neither with Russia nor with Ukraine," he said.

He also said the extension of the base deal made no difference to the prospects of Ukraine joining NATO.

On Wednesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement on terms of the Russian Black Sea Fleet presence in Ukraine's Crimea on the Black Sea to be extended for 25 years after 2017, when the current lease is due to expire.

Under the new agreement, the lease on the Sevastopol base may be further extended by another five years after 2047.

The agreement has already drawn a very negative response from the Ukrainian opposition.

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