The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s presence in the Crimea may be illegal, the first deputy foreign minister of Ukraine, Anton Buteiko, said in an interview Monday, Mosnews reported.

According to a bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine signed in 1997, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will remain in Ukrainian territorial waters for 20 years, until 2017.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Constitution does not allow foreign military bases in the country.

Some lawyers, Buteiko said, think 20 years is too long for the agreement in question, because transitory statements of the Constitution usually have a validity period of up to seven years.

“This is why the agreement should have been signed for this period (up to seven years), not longer. This point can be regarded as a statement contradicting the Constitution,” he was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

At the same time, only the Constitutional Court could make a final decision on the subject, Buteiko added.


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