Ukraine May Raise Rent at Sevastopol

KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Wednesday that Russia's decision to recognize two Georgian separatist regions was unacceptable and threatened to increase the rent at a base for the Black Sea Fleet.

In remarks bound to heighten tensions with Moscow, Yushchenko said Ukraine had leased the base at the port of Sevastopol for Russia's Black Sea Fleet at below market rates and it was time to think about raising the price.

"[We need to] raise the question about the lease payment and new financial conditions, because those old conditions were set when there was no market for land deals … and assets which the Russian fleet uses were not considered as assets which must be paid for," he said.

Yushchenko's support for Georgia has already angered Moscow. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin hinted that some in Kiev wanted to trigger a tough response from Moscow to boost their standing.