Acting Defense Minister of Ukraine Ihor Tenyukh said in an interview for Interfax that the Ukrainian Navy would remain stationed in Sevastopol, adding that there would not be a relocation of the headquarters of any sort.
“Right now the ships are located at the places of permanent deployment, but they are being blocked by the Russian army. Meetings on the release of the ships were conducted on multiple occasions between the commander of the Ukrainian Navy Serhiy Haiduk and both Russian Black Sea Fleet Command and Russian Navy Command. These negotiations are being conducted right now, and I hope that this issue will be solved in the context of the solution for all the political problems,” the Defence Minister said in the interview.
The Ukrainian Navy Command has reached an agreement with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense and Black Sea Fleet Command on unblocking of Ukrainian units in Crimea by March 21, Acting Minister of Defense of Ukraine Ihor Tenyukh said on Sunday.
As of the end of February, Russia has increased the presence of its troops in Crimea region and the eastern border of Ukraine, sending around 60 ships, 220,000 servicemen, 1800 tanks, 400 helicopters and 150 aircraft.
The Minister added that Ukraine is closely monitoring the movements of Russian troops, especially in the Crimea and at the eastern borders, stressing that Russia has “violated international law and the bilateral agreement on the location of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea.” Therefore, according to Tenyukh, instead of 12,500 servicemen, the number of Russian troops in Crimea has reached 22,000.
Naval Today Staff, March 18, 2014; Image: Ukrainian MoD