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Ukraine will not violate agreement on Black Sea Fleet bases - Yushchenko

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KIEV, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine will not violate the agreement on Black Sea Fleet bases in the autonomy of Crimea, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Tuesday.

According to the presidential press service, during a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yushchenko said Ukraine would keep the agreement on the temporary deployment of the Russian fleet in the Crimea and follow its provisions.

Ukraine has threatened to raise the rent for Russian naval bases on its territory in an apparent response to Russia's decision to raise prices for natural gas.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said earlier that revising the agreement on Russia's Black Sea Fleet was unacceptable.

"On the matter of raising the leasing rates for the bases in the Crimea, there are no grounds for such talks, as the prices are fixed in an agreement between our countries that is valid until 2017," the minister said.

Russia currently pays Ukraine $98 million annually to lease the Black Sea Fleet bases on the Crimean Peninsula.

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