Ukraine’s statement at the UN that 16,000 Russian soldiers have been deployed to Crimea has caused a frenzy among Western media which chooses to ignore that those troops have been there since the late 1990s in accordance with a Kiev-Moscow agreement.
Western media describes the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as if a full-scale Russian invasion were under way, with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea” and “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia’s invasion of Crimea?”
It seems they have chosen to simply ignore the fact that those Russian troops have been stationed in Crimea for over a decade.
Russia’s representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, reminded on Tuesday that the deal surrounding the Black Sea Fleet allows Russia to station a contingent of up to 25,000 troops in Ukraine. However, US and British media have mostly chosen to turn a deaf ear.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined that the country’s military “strictly executes the agreements, which stipulate the Russian fleet’s presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well.”
The Black Sea Fleet has been disputed between Russia and Ukraine since the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991.
In 1997, the sides finally managed to find common ground and signed three agreements determining the fate of the military bases and vessels in Crimea.
Russia has received 81.7 per cent of the fleet’s ships after paying the Ukrainian government a compensation of US$526.5 million.
Moscow also annually writes off $97.75 million of Kiev’s debt for the right to use Ukrainian waters and radio frequency resources, and for the environmental impact caused by the Black Sea Fleet’s operations.
According to the initial agreement, the Russian Black Sea Fleet was to stay in Crimea until 2017, but the deal was later prolonged for another 25 years.
The 1997 deal allows the Russian navy to have up to 25,000 troops, 24 artillery systems with a caliber smaller than 100 mm, 132 armored vehicles, and 22 military planes on Ukrainian territory.
Full story at RT News