Russia has no plans for new military bases in other countries - Putin
MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has no plans to build new military facilities anywhere in the world similar to its naval base in Ukraine's Crimea, the Russian prime minister said on Thursday.
"I would like to reiterate that Crimea is a unique case that has evolved historically," Vladimir Putin said, adding there was no need to build military bases in other countries and requested "our partners" not to bother with the same kind of requests.
The lease agreement on the Russian Black Sea Fleet's presence in Ukraine, signed on Wednesday, extends Russian naval presence in the port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, and may be further extended by another five years.
Putin also said Russia will pay higher rent for its base in Ukraine starting in 2017 and payments will be made in hard cash.
Yanukovych has pledged to move Ukraine away from the pro-Western stance of former President Viktor Yushchenko, who vowed that Russia would have to look for a new main base for its Black Sea Fleet once the current deal expires in 2017.
The Ukrainian opposition, however, has said any prolongation of Russian military presence will require amendments to the Constitution as well as a national referendum.
Yushchenko's party said Yanukovych should be impeached for signing the agreement extending Russian naval presence in Crimea because it contradicts the Ukrainian Constitution.
Mykola Tomenko, deputy speaker of parliament and a leader of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (YTB), said last Wednesday Article 17 of the Constitution forbids foreign military bases on Ukrainian soil.
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