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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Ups its Demands on Black Sea Fleet

Russian defense officials have said Moscow wants to hold onto four-fifths of the Black Sea Fleet, which Russia and Ukraine are trying to divide between themselves.


Russia also wants at least two other different military bases on Ukraine's Black Sea Coast, the officials said Wednesday.


The rusting fleet, inherited from the Soviet military, has been a source of tension between Russia and Ukraine. After years of wrangling, Ukraine agreed in June to allow Russia to base its share of the fleet in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.


At talks this week in Moscow, the two sides are trying to reach an amicable division.


Interfax cited unidentified Russian defense sources as saying that Moscow has proposed keeping 81.7 percent of the 833-ship fleet, describing it as a "50-50'' sharing arrangement.


Meanwhile, the fleet's commander, Admiral Eduard Baltin, told Interfax that Russia needs at least three naval bases in Ukraine, including a test center for submarines and ships at Feodosiya, and a base at Donuzlav, the most modern on the Black Sea.


But the Russian navy's commander-in-chief, Admiral Felix Gromov, did not rule out the transfer of Donuzlav to Ukraine.


The June agreement provided for harbors for Russian naval vessels but did not say which ones.