Earlier this week a court in Kiev gave military prosecutors temporary access to documents containing details about the 2010 agreement between Russia and Ukraine that extended the lease of bases in Crimea by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The court granted prosecutors the access as part of criminal proceedings initiated against the country's former authorities, who have been charged with 'high treason' and abuse of power. Ukraine's government was overthrown in a coup d'état in Kiev in February 2014.
In March 2014, amid the chaos in Kiev following the coup, Crimean authorities held a referendum regarding the status of the peninsula. With a voter turnout of 83%, over 96% of Crimea's residents voted to break off from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
Commenting on Kiev's latest ploy, Duma lawmaker Ruslan Balbek, who is from Crimea, told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency that Ukrainian authorities should stop with their belated hysteria around the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
"As far as their hysteria over the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea is concerned, Ukrainian authorities are late by almost three years," Balbek quipped.
The lawmaker added that "all of these actions, including the seizure of documents, the checking of signatures, and the conducting of an investigation, are just a failed attempt to catch a train that left a long time ago."
"Maybe we will keep these useless scraps of paper that come out of Kiev for history's sake," the lawmaker said. In his words, Ukraine knows that it does not have the means to oust the Russian Fleet by force; meanwhile, its hopes of doing so with foreign help have also "vanished into thin air" in recent weeks.