In 1997 Russian and Ukraine signed a 20 year treaty, enabling the Russian Black sea fleet to use naval facilities in Crimea. The Russian side wants to extend the treaty, whilst the Ukrainian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Defence have many times complained that the Russians are not fulfilling their commitments on leasing of these naval bases.
Several days ago, an adviser from the Russian embassy in Ukraine, Vladimir Lysenko, allegedly stated that Russia could soon start to review the 1997 agreement, which affirms Ukrainian status of Sevastopol.
Press reports, e.g. in 'Segodnya' stated that according to Lysenko, the agreement could be re-examined, "if the Ukrainian authorities continue to exert pressure on the [Russian] Black Sea fleet, which is based in Crimea."
Lutsenko's remarks prompted a swift response from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the form of a sternly worded 'diplomatic note'.
Today the Russian ambassador in Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin did some quick 'back-pedalling'.
"The adviser of the embassy could not say such a thing. This is totally inadmissible. Well, simply such a thing could not have taken place, but these thing happen... so the entire outburst - its just emotion ", emphasized Chernomyrdin.
According to Chernomyrdin, the matter may just have been published to suit someone's purpose, or was just an error.
This is a very touchy subject..
Meanwhile 'Korespondent' posts results of an opinion poll which reveals that 61% of Ukrainians are satisfied to have been born in Ukraine. 10.4% would rather have been born in Russia, less that 3% in each of France, Germany, Great Britain or the USA. The only major deviation to these figures was in the Crimean city of Simferopol, were nearly 48% would have liked to have been born in Russia, and only about 40% were happy to have been born in Ukraine.
'Koresondent' also invited its internet site visitors to take part in a straw poll , asking them, "In what country would you like to live?" Up to now, almost 2000 visitors have responded.
Nearly 48% replied in Ukraine, 2.59% in the Russian Federation, 21.06% in any EU country, USA - 8.23%, and, rather curiously, 8.39% in Honduras. On second thoughts, Honduras maybe does have attractions..