An interesting item in this AM’s news clips:
(ASSOCIATED PRESS 20 OCT 08) Russia’s Deputy PM: Russia May Leave Sevastopol
LONDON – Russia will leave the strategic Black Sea port of Sevastopol if its lease is not renewed by the Ukrainian government, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said in an interview due to be broadcast Monday.
Asked by the British Broadcasting Corp. whether he could envision the Russian fleet ever leaving the port, Ivanov said it was possible.
“Yes, I can imagine that easily after 2017,” he told the BBC. “Why not, if the Ukrainian government then in power decides not to prolong the lease?”
Perhaps providing some insight into this potential course of action … and an implicit threat?
Russia’s military campaign against Georgia in August stoked fears that the Kremlin could launch a similar action against Ukraine, which like Georgia has also sought to loosen ties with Russia.
The war with Georgia culminated in Russia’s recognition of Georgia’s pro-Russian rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – stoking fears that Moscow could repeat the exercise in Crimea.
Asked what would happen if the Ukrainian government kicked out the fleet, over expected local opposition from ethnic Russians, Ivanov suggested Russia would not intervene.
“I love Crimea and even have relatives there, but that is Ukraine’s problem, not Russia’s,” he said.
More to follow…
…’Phib, of course, has a slightly different take.