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Ukrainian PM to seek Russian funds for Sevastopol infrastructure

RIA Novosti

19:16 27/06/2010 KIEV, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's prime minister said on Sunday he would ask Russia to help upgrade the infrastructure in Sevastopol, the Crimean city that hosts Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Ukrainian news website Podrobnosti reported.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov is due in Moscow on Monday and he said during a visit to the Black Sea port that he would raise a number of issues related to the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

Kiev and Moscow agreed in April to extend Russia's lease on the Crimean naval base for 25 years, with a possible further five years.

"Given that the prospects of the Black Sea Fleet are defined, let's say, for 30 years, money must be invested," Azarov said. "These are the issues we need to discuss with the Russian leadership tomorrow."

"We will talk about the development of the city of Sevastopol, about the development of its infrastructure," he said.

"Should housing be built? It should. Should sewage treatment plants be built in Sevastopol? They should. There are a lot of problems that the government is prepared to take part in resolving, but because there are a few tens of thousands of troops, their families and retirees here, the Russian government should take on some of the problems itself," the Ukrainian prime minister said.

The agreement to extend the Black Sea Fleet lease was controversial in Ukraine, and came with improved terms on Ukraine's purchase of gas from Russia.

Azarov said the deal had had a positive impact on the Ukrainian economy.

"Of course, the issue of reducing the price of gas does not solve all the problems completely, it does not put an end to all the problems on which the development of the economy depends, but it gave a powerful impetus," he said.



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