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No plans to move Russian Black Sea fleet to Abkhazia - Bagapsh

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Abkhazia have not discussed the redeployment of Russia's Black Sea fleet warships from Ukraine's Crimea to the former Georgian republic, the Abkhazian leader said on Thursday.

Outgoing Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced in the summer of 2008 that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the Sevastopol base beyond 2017, and urged the Russian fleet to start preparations for a withdrawal.

Media reports have speculated in recent days that the fleet could be moved to Abkhazia.

"You probably heard an interview with Ukraine's president-elect [Viktor] Yanukovych. The treaty might be reviewed after 2017," Sergei Bagapsh said.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine's Crimea, including the main base in Sevastopol, as part of a 1997 agreement under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017.

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