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  Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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The Russian Navy General Staff has condemned as provocation the seizure by Ukrainian officials of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's lighthouse in Yalta
The Russian Navy General Staff has condemned as provocation the seizure by Ukrainian officials of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's lighthouse in Yalta, in Ukraine's Crimea, a Navy spokesman said. "We classify the seizure of the Yalta lighthouse on whatever pretext as provocation," said Captain Igor Dygalo, an aide to the Navy Commander in Chief. Eight officers of the Ukrainian Transportation Ministry's hydrographic service were reported to have entered the Yalta lighthouse Friday morning, saying they were there to carry out an inspection, and have barred Russian staff from doing their work. Dygalo said Russia and Ukraine signed a protocol in April 2004 which set out in black and white that Russia had complied with previously agreed inventory obligations relating to the Black Sea Fleet's facilities and equipment in the Crimea. "Therefore, no matter what the pretext may be, whether it be the inventory of equipment or a Ukrainian court's decision, it doesn't bear scrutiny," Dygalo said. Dygalo added that the countries had reached agreement on inventory procedures at the fifth session of the subcommission on the Black Sea Fleet in 2003. "These terms satisfied both sides and were fixed in an official protocol," he added. The Russian Black Sea Fleet leases the base of Sevastopol in the Crimea. Although Russia and Ukraine have an agreement under which Russia will lease the base until 2017, some Ukrainian politicians called for a revision of the contract terms after Russian energy giant Gazprom announced that it wanted to raise prices for supplies of natural gas to Ukraine to international market levels.
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