Black Sea Fleet Lease Extension breaches Ukraine’s National Interests!

We the undersigned members of Ukraine’s civic society express our categorical opposition to the agreement reached on 21 April 2010 in Kharkiv between the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia. This agreement included, without any prior public or parliamentary debate, the extension by 25 years of the Agreement on the Status and Conditions for the Stationing of the Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian Territory, up till 2042.
We believe that:

- Issues of Ukraine’s national security (which clearly include the stationing of the RF Black Sea Fleet or any other foreign military formation on Ukrainian territory) cannot be used as bargaining tools in gas or any other economic and trade negotiations

- The stationing of foreign military bases, or the extension of their presence, on Ukraine’s territory is an issue of security for the entire country (as was demonstrated by the events of 2008). It is quite unacceptable for any such issues to be decided at presidential level without public debate.

- Behind the rhetoric, the economic benefits of the deal brokered are once again lacking in clarity or transparency. It would seem likely that while the issues of national security affect us all, the economic benefits will be enjoyed by specific financial and industrial groups with no accountability to the people. It is also hard to understand how a gas agreement up till 2019 can possibly justify a decision directly affecting Ukraine’s national security up till 2042.

- As has been noted by analysts throughout the world, this agreement made by two Presidents without consultation with the people has major impact for Ukraine’s relations both with Russia, and with countries of NATO. It could have serious impact on Ukraine’s security in any future military conflict. We reiterate that such a major step has no justification without the approval of the people.

We would stress also that it is time for Ukraine’s gas dealings with Russia to be brought out into the open and brokered in a manner which will serve the good of the nation, not of a few individuals.

We call on the Verkhovna Rada to consider Ukraine’s best interests and to refuse to ratify this accord and demand that all issues regarding the stationing of military formations in Ukraine be put to OPEN PUBLIC DEBATE.

Signatures can be seen and added here:

( categories: Editorials )