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Russia plans to build up Black Sea Fleet

October 25, 2010

Qutaiba

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Russia plans to add 18 new vessels to its Black Sea Fleet within the next decade after a landmark deal with Ukraine to extend the lease on the fleet’s base, a navy source was quoted by Interfax as saying on Monday.

Ukraine agreed in April to extend the Russian fleet’s Sevastopol base lease by 25 years in return for a 30 percent cut in gas prices, a step that underlined Kiev’s shift back towards Moscow after the election of President Viktor Yanukovich.

The fleet has fallen into disrepair in recent years, but Russia plans to add 18 new vessels, including at least six frigates and six diesel-powered submarines, Interfax news agency cited a source in Russia’s naval command as saying.

A spokesman for the navy declined to comment on the Interfax report. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Thomas Grove)

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