The price for the lease of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's naval base in Ukraine is overvalued, but Moscow agreed to it for the benefit of raising cooperation and trust with Kiev, the Russian prime minister said.
The deal, signed by the Russian and Ukrainian presidents on April 21, extends the lease on the Russian base in the Ukranian port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, and may be further extended by another five years. In exchange, Ukraine is to recieve a 30% discount on Russian natural gas supplies.
"The price asked for [the lease of the base] is out-of-limits," Vladimir Putin, who is currently in Ukraine on an official visit, said.
"But for us [Russia] this issue is not only a matter of money, but a matter of cooperation with Ukraine, cooperation in the military sector, which undoubtedly raises the level of trust and possibilities for credible work in economic and social sectors. This is most important," Putin said.
The Russian prime minister reiterated that under the signed agreement on the lease of the base Russia would pay over $40 billion over ten years.
"We could build several bases for this money," Putin said adding that he was surprised that the Ukrainian parliament is prepared to debate the issue.
The Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee for International Affairs on Monday recommended the Supreme Rada against ratifying the deal.
Putin said he discussed this issue many times with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and she never objected to the extension of the lease term and the price was the only question that remained.
KIEV, April 27 (RIA Novosti)