Russia and Ukraine plan to sign a new agreement on the rearmament of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Ukraine's Crimea, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Sunday.
"We are, indeed, discussing this issue and are trying to formulate new provisions for this agreement," he said.
Under the existing accords, Russia may rearm its Black Sea fleet in the Crimea only with Ukraine's consent.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet is stationed in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol in the Crimea under a lease agreement. On April 21, 2010, Moscow and Kiev signed a deal extending the lease on the fleet's base in Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.
Russia is seeking to bring its ageing Soviet-era fleet up to modern standards as part of a larger effort to modernize its armed forces.
At present, the Black Sea Fleet has about 40 operational vessels, including a single diesel-electric submarine, but most of them are slated for decommissioning.
Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky earlier said that the fleet would be reinforced with 15 new combat ships and diesel-electric submarines by 2020.
VLADIVOSTOK, February 27 (RIA Novosti)