The problem of the black sea fleet in the Russian-Ukrainian relations (1991–2014): a retrospective analysis

Author(s):  P.I. Pashkovsky, candidate of Sciences, V.I. Vernadskiy Crimean Federal University, Simferopol, Russia,

Issue:  Volume 46, № 2

Rubric:  Topical issues of political science

Annotation:  The article provides a retrospective analysis of the problem of the Black Sea Fleet in the Russian-Ukrainian relations in the period of 1991–2014. The main stages and trends in solution of this issue have been highlighted. It was shown that the origins of the problem of the Black Sea Fleet must be seen in the events of 1954, when the Crimean region (including Sevastopol) was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. As a result, after the disintegration of the USSR, the main bases of the fleet were on the territory of sovereign Ukraine, which declared the need to keep these bases under its control. This position caused a strong rejection by the leadership and a significant part of the Black Sea Fleet. This problem in the context of bilateral relations became more acute in 1992–1993. The negotiation process proceeded with some difficulties. However, in April 1994, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on a phased settlement of the problem of the Black Sea Fleet. The signing in 1997 of the «Big Treaty» led to the stabilization of the situation regarding the Black Sea Fleet, but it was possible to establish constructive cooperation only by 2001. During the period of V. Yushchenko’s presidency, the problem of the Black Sea Fleet is again becoming acute. The situation changes after the election of V. Yanukovich as president of Ukraine. The «Kharkov agreements» of 2010 had a positive impact on resolving the problem of the Black Sea Fleet in Russian-Ukrainian relations. However, some controversial issues remained unresolved. The reunification of the Crimea with Russia in 2014 leads to the denunciation of the «Kharkov agreements», fundamentally changing the status of the Black Sea Fleet and the geopolitical balance of forces in the region.

Keywords:  Black Sea Fleet, Russian-Ukrainian relations, geopolitics, Black Sea region, regional security, retrospective analysis.

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