Russia and Ukraine cooperation in military and security sphere during V.Yanukovych's presidency


Russia and Ukraine cooperation in military and security sphere during V.Yanukovych's presidency

Эксперты МГИМО: Гусев Леонид Юрьевич, к.ист.н.

The Black Sea region is a contested neighborhood and the subject of intense debate. This reflects the changing dynamics of the region, its complex realities, the interests of outsiders and the region’s relations with the rest of the world. Its strategic position, linking north to south and east to west, as well as its oil, gas, transport and trade routes are all important reasons for its increasing relevance.

In this context, the Russian position has gravitated towards bolstering its influence around its borders. This has meant demanding a say in all energy related projects, preventing the emergence of anti-Russian coalitions and curbing NATO expansion

Proceeding from it I would like to show, how there are relations between Ukraine and Russia in military and security sphere during V. Yanukovych’s presidency.

On April 21st, in Kharkov, the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine signed a historical agreement. Under the document, Ukraine will get a 10-year-discount on Russian gas. In return, Victor Yanukovich agreed to extend the Black Sea Fleet’s lease in Sevastopol by 25 years.

On April 27, 2010 Ukrainian parliament ratified the agreement between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, which prolongs the stay of Russian Black Sea fleet in Ukraine for 25 additional years.

236 deputies gave their voices in favor of the agreement thought the required number needed for ratification is 226. As a result, the Russian navy has a right to base in Sevastopol port till 2042.

The agreement is a result of two months negotiations between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It is known as one of the ‘Kharkov agreements’. In addition to prolongation of Russian fleet’s stay in Ukraine this set of documents includes an agreement about reducing the price for natural gas that Ukraine buys from Russia.

According to the signed papers, Russia will give Ukraine a 30% discount on natural gas, but not more than $100 per 1,000 cubic meters. At the same time, while Russia promises to pay around $100 million yearly starting with 28 May 2017 for the naval base, the gas discount will be deducted from this amount. It should also be remembered that the price Ukraine has recently been paying to Russia for natural gas is one of the highest in Europe — $330 for 1,000 cubic meters.

The previous naval base deal signed between the countries allowed Russian fleet to stay in the Black Sea till 2017. Both ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko (2005–2010) and current opposition lead by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko expected Russian fleet to leave the port of Sevastopol in 2017. Therefore, the new agreement has raised much debate in the country and caused the opposing parties interfere with the work of the parliament.

President Medvedev said about it — «This will give a greater, better guarantee for European security in the Black Sea basin».[1] 

Besides, the president of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev has charged to the Minister of Defense of Russia Anatoly Serdjukov to prepare the plan for development of naval base of the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol.

D. Medvedev has declared necessity of social arrangement of naval base of the Black Sea fleet for Sevastopol that it is very important for Russia so that seamen who serve there, could live in modern conditions, have possibilities for rest, and other possibilities which the base should give.[2]

The Russian side has acted with one more important initiative. Russia suggests concluding the contract of using weapons of military men of the Black Sea fleet out of basing places. It follows from the maintenance of preparing contracts which concern features of functioning of the Black Sea fleet of Russia in Crimea.

Besides, the Russian proposals announced by the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin, include documents of the coordination of movement of divisions of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation out of places of their disposition; about an admission order through the Ukrainian border of military men of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation; about a preferential customs mode of importing of material means for the Russian fleet; about the mechanism of replacement of arms.

Also Russia wants to conclude agreements about a fleet infrastructure; about joint use of navigation-hydrographic maintenance; about the calculations between Russia and Ukraine connected with stay of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation since May, 28th, 2017, and also about an order of a use of weapons of military men of the Black Sea fleet out of basing places

In turn, the Ukrainian side wants to sign agreements of the prevention of emergency situations in places of a disposition of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation, about actions of the sides in case of occurrence of the crisis situation connected with use of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation, and also the treaty on questions of jurisdiction and legal aid rendering on criminal cases.

Also I should point on the 9th Conference of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation delegations. It was held in Odessa on May 19, 2010. The delegations were headed by the Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi and the Director of the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation Aleksandr Bortnikov.

The parties discussed the current state of cooperation between the special services. It was stressed that during last five years a lot of problems to be solved by joint efforts accumulated. First of all these are fight against international terrorism, cyber crimes, international organized criminal groups which monopolized separate spheres of criminal business (drugs trafficking, illegal migration etc.)

Particular attention was paid to counterintelligence protection of the economy, especially to the security of atomic energy and industry facilities, protection of internal high-tech markets of Ukraine and Russia.

The participants of the Conference defined further activities to promote border cooperation in prevention of illegal Ukraine-Russia border crossing, liquidation of illegal migration and smuggling channels.

By the results of the negotiations, the final document was signed. It regulates the following steps of cooperation between the special services, in particular adjustment of information exchange and creation of expert groups.[3]

The Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine V. Khoroshkovskyi and the Director of the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation O. Bortnikov also signed the Protocol to the Agreement on Cooperation and Interaction between the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Security of Russian Federation, regulating the stay of the Federal Security Service officers who ensure the security of the Black Sea Fleet of Russian Federation in the places of its temporary stationing on the territory of Ukraine.

The Protocol stipulates organization of information exchange, conducting of concerted measures to reveal, prevent and suppress illegal activities directed against the Black Sea Fleet of Russian Federation security and threatening the national security of Ukraine and Russian Federation.

The document provides that the information about the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation officers, ensuring the Black Sea Fleet of Russian Federation security on the territory of Ukraine, will be given and agreed with the Ukrainian side timely and fully.

The Protocol comes into force from the moment of signing and will be valid for 5 years.[4]

At the end of October, Ministers of transport of the Russian Federation and Ukraine discussed in Kiev questions of building of bridge transition through Kerch strait and a ring road round Black sea.

Also questions of observance of safety of navigation in Kerch strait and in the Azov and Black seas were discussed. Besides, there was discussed a question of liberalization of mutual access into internal waterways.

Also the parties discussed some question in sphere of development of rail transportation, in particular building prospects of a railway line to a site Koshitse (Slovakia) — Bratislava — Vienna and development of transit container transportations from China with the railways of Ukraine and Russia in a direction of the European countries.

Russia and Ukraine renewed work on the project of building of the bridge Crimea — Caucasus after Victor Yanukovych had become the president of Ukraine in the beginning of 2010. The Russian side expressed interest the bridge would be ready by 2014, to the Olympic games in Sochi. The bridge through Kerch strait could reduce a transport way from the Ukrainian Kherson to Novorossiysk on 450 kilometers. According to the ambassador of Russia in Ukraine Michael Zurabov, transport transition through Kerch strait will make Crimea and the Russian part of the Black Sea coast of Caucasus common resort region and become the first step of realization of more the large-scale project — building of a ring highway round Black sea.

Finishing I can conclude that Russia and Ukraine have shown determination jointly to start playing a more active role in the Black Sea region and generally in East Europe.





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