Russia and Ukraine Agree on Natural Gas and Port of Sevastopol   Leave a comment

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced an agreement ending years of animosity between the two former Soviet republics at the end of a one-day summit in the eastern Ukrainian border city of Kharkiv.

Russia agreed to a 30 percent drop in the price of natural gas sold to Ukraine, in exchange for permission to extend Russia’s lease of a major naval base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Ukraine, for 25 years.

The agreement may bring an end to years of disputes over natural gas prices, which culminated in Russia turning off the pipeline to Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia had been at odds ever since the “Orange Revolution” swept Yanukovych’s anti-Russian predecessor Viktor Yushchenko to power in 2005.

Throughout his time in office, Yushchenko repeatedly threatened to expel Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol. The Russian military lease there was scheduled to expire in 2017.

The Kremlin-friendly Yanukovych, who hails from predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, trounced Yushchenko in national elections in January.

The Russian president said the new deal added a “concrete and pragmatic dimension,” to centuries of relations between Ukrainians and Russians.

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