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Shortcomings of Basic agreements of 1997 allow Ukraine to interfere with rearmament of the BSF of the RF. And not only…

The deserved journalist of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Candidate of Political Sciences, the scientific secretary of Military scientific organization of the Black Sea Fleet, the captain of 1 rank Sergey Pavlovich Gorbachev answers the questions of the Internet portal “The world and we”.

- What is the essence of the claims which are put forward by the Ukrainian authorities in connection with rearmament of the BSF of the Russian Federation? Can be these actions a real obstacle for implementation of this rearmament?


- I wouldn't tell that any concrete claims move forward. The matter is that the questions connected with rearmament of the BSF of the Russian Federation were stipulated and fixed by replacement of equipment and ship structure in the relevant Basic agreements in 1997. It is told there that replacement is provided and the principle “type to type”, “class to class” and “quantity to quantity” is stipulated. But in many respects and not only on this matter, these agreements had the frame character. It was provided that more than 20 any agreements which will order permission of many problems further will be signed and develop the corresponding mechanisms for their realization.

Unfortunately, for these years, and already 16 years passed, the mechanism of replacement of equipment and arms wasn't developed. The principle was declared only and the dots are put. In this regard even when there was a replacement question for sea aircraft of the BSF of attack planes Su-17 to Su-24, long time Su-24 were in airfield in Anapa as this task couldn't be solved due to the lack of the concrete mechanism. And only at the level of presidents during Yeltsin's meeting with Kuchma this question was resolved. In the absence of concrete arrangements this problem was overcome only at the level of a personal contact of heads of states. But also after that the mechanism wasn't developed. In this regard Ukraine earlier and today tightens the solution of this problem in every possible way. Certainly, in the presence of good will of this sort the questions can find answers in the shortest terms as the principle is stipulated.

Moreover, the Basic agreements, their spirit and a letter provide that Ukraine doesn't interfere and creates conditions to the Black Sea Fleet for performance of all tasks peculiar to it. I.e. the Ukrainian party assumed obligations in every possible way to assist the BSF of the Russian Federation in permission of all problems including the problems of rearmament. In particular, it is spoken in the Joint statement of Ukraine and the Russian Federation about it which was made on May 31, 1997 in Kiev by the presidents of two countries. In fact the same is told in the Russian-Ukrainian declaration, in the same day signed by presidents B. Yeltsin and L.Kuchma. And Basic agreements at their development and signing provided not an aggravation of a naval perspective, but removal of sore points to a consensus and satisfaction of the parties. Unfortunately, this good will wasn't always shown earlier, not always shown today.

The second side of the problem is that while there is no concrete subject for negotiations. The Russian shipbuilding program will yield obvious result only at the end of next year. Then project 11356 frigates which specially are under construction for the Black Sea Fleet in Kaliningrad and also the submarines of the project 636 put on “Admiralty Shipyards” in St. Petersburg will start coming to fleet. Operational development of these ships to high degree of their readiness for certain intensifies negotiation process and, there is a wish to trust, will bring concrete results.
Certainly, these new ships can be based in Novorossiysk where the federal program on creation of system of basing on the Caucasian coast of Russia is realized.

But nevertheless no port on the Black Sea will be able to replace Sevastopol which during all the 230-year history was under construction by fleet and for fleet. The mooring front, all infrastructure, ship repair, ranges with educational base, configuration of the city, structure of its inhabitants if you want, mentality, special spirit of the citizens of Sevastopol – all this is focused on requirements of fleet. Certainly, in recent years a lot of things changed. However it wasn't succeeded “to reformat” Sevastopol for two tens years to Singapore, Monaco or Antalya. Yes, probably, it is unpromising. Especially, in world practice there are examples when the large cities are focused on military fleet and its requirements. It is Norfolk in the USA, Toulon in France, Portsmouth in Great Britain, etc. In these cities everything is safe and from the point of view of social and economic development, it is comfortable to the inhabitants in them. Sevastopol was such. Why to allocate it with unusual functions, especially for the implementation of which there are no corresponding conditions?

- Is the performance of Victor Yushchenko decrees carried out which he signed after the Russian-Georgian conflict, about an allowing order of movement of forces of providing the Black Sea Fleet and also about cancellation of the simplified regime of crossing of frontier by them?


- This perspective was considered after the change of “orange” regime. Mutually acceptable agreements were reached on these questions to satisfaction of the parties. These problems were resolved. There is such concept “not count” in fleet - it fully belongs to these decrees. The order is defined and both parties are guided by it –the questions don't arise during the after-Yushchenko period.

- Are the controversial issues on taxation by the customs duties of freights for the BSF of the Russian Federation resolved? It is known that there was a situation when Ukraine blocked and held 14 thousand tons of fuel for the BSF of the Russian Federation, demanding the payment of customs duties and taxes. Do such situations repeat?

- Recently it was declared with reference to official Ukrainian sources that during discussion of these questions certain agreements are reached and that shortly these problems will be solved. Though the sources didn't specify how they will be solved. Certainly, it would be desirable to know an essence of these arrangements, but, probably, negotiations not always allow high degree of transparency. This block of problems existed at the time of the end of May.
Unfortunately, the problems with customs, in particular on fuels and lubricants for the ships and fuel for planes are a consequence of that during signing of Basic agreements of 1997 Russia didn't provide all “reefs” which can arise further. Many experts on the eve of and after signing said that agreement documents are “crude” and aren't worked up to the end. It concerns the customs questions and also the taxation. All perfectly understand that the same Americans aren't exposed to customs inspection on the foreign bases, don't give somewhere on Philippines to check the freights to customs officers and don't pay any duties. But it wasn't provided in a case with the BSF of the Russian Federation in 1997 and now we feel the consequences.

Certainly, this situation looks absurdly from the point of view of common sense. The ships leave, for example, Novorossiysk with the freights, come to the moorings rented till 2042 and are exposed to customs inspection on them. Certainly, it surprises.

- It is known that the Ukrainian party periodically makes statements for need of introduction of additional payments from the BSF, for example, compensations for use of moorings. Do such requirements proved?

- Any requirements about additional payments look inappropriate, to put it mildly. It should be noted that Russia pays annual rent of about 97 million dollars and also other payments and the taxes which legitimacy of collection is often called in question. By the way, the BSF is the leading taxpayer of Sevastopol and, according to experts, forms city budget at the level of 17-20%.

And if to consider the BSF as “enterprise”, it is necessary to declare unambiguously: Ukraine has no other similar enterprise which in the absence of any investments would bring such incomes. Besides, the BSF is the chief employer of Sevastopol. There are about 15 thousand people in the Black Sea labor union, and generally make the citizens of Ukraine. Therefore the BSF in literal sense gives to drink and feeds the citizens of Ukraine who work at fleet and their families. By the way, in “hungry” 90th years when the BSF of the Russian Federation got paid, all Sevastopol markets came to life. The Sevastopol businessmen feel it first of all because sailors of the Black Sea Fleet are one of the most highly paid inhabitants of the hero town today.

- Is it right that the leadership of Ukraine considers a situation with rearmament of the BSF of the Russian Federation as a certain change in aspiration to receive new discounts for gas? And the positive decision on this question depends on it?

- Unfortunately, Kiev used earlier, and, alas, today continues to use “the Black Sea Fleet card” at emergence of stubborn questions with Russia. Our fleet is a peculiar litmus piece of paper of health of the Russian-Ukrainian relations. Though both in Kiev and in Moscow say that the problem of the BSF is solved at all levels, actually we are the witnesses of how quite recently the question of denunciation of the Kharkov agreements was considered in the Verkhovna Rada. And these questions are brought up at parliamentary level, so the problem is solved far not completely. Or, at least, there are significant forces which raise a question exactly so.

- What do you think of the statement of deputy Kirilenko from Batkivshchyna party that rearmament of the Black Sea Fleet will threaten the sovereignty of Ukraine?


- I don't know, whether he served in army or in fleet, but the modern means of defeat are that the forces of a certain power being in the Mediterranean Sea, can threaten the state of Ukraine, any part of its territory. And to coordinate the threat, allegedly, proceeding from the BSF of the Russian Federation only to its dislocation in Sevastopol, to put it mildly, is simply illiterately. Fleet, even being in Novorossiysk, can threaten Ukraine, of course, if to proceed from the point of view of this deputy. The flight time for aircraft is minimum, speed of high-precision rockets several times exceed the sound speed, their range of application – one hundred and even one thousand kilometers …

Actually the BSF of the Russian Federation is a factor of control of any threat which can be directed against the state of Ukraine. The BSF solves a problem of defence of boundaries not only of the Russian Federation, but also objectively serves the citizens of Ukraine, protecting its boundaries. While the BSF is in Sevastopol, nobody will attack Ukraine because if someone would want, will face the fleet of Russia - the nuclear power. Our fleet will protect both Ukraine, and Russia.

- Will the volumes of rearmament declared by Russia and BSF modernizations render considerable influence on increase of fighting capacity of fleet?


- If all drawn-up plans are realized, it considerably will increase the fighting capacity in comparison with today. The matter is that, unfortunately, the present structure of fleet is structure of fleet of yesterday's war and the ships which are under construction and step by step, till 2020 have to come to Sevastopol are modern ships of new generation, with new effective arms. Certainly, thanks to it, the power the BSF will amplify, increase. Though, certainly, it would be desirable that growth happened in the quantitative plan by more large-scale. All world fleet - the USA, the countries of NATO, China, India and also Turkey and other states develops both in the qualitative plan and in the quantitative. Thus in the quantitative plan, despite very high opportunities of the modern ships, they aren't reduced.

For example, the Turks had 14 submarines 30 years ago and they remained now, but these are the submarines of modern projects. Therefore rearmament considerably will strengthen our fleet, the ships and boats are very good. But at the same time it would be desirable that their quantity also increased, without being limited to rather small series.

Viewed : 1555   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 20 August 2013 21:09

Source: The world and we

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