In interview remarks bound to anger Moscow, Yushchenko said Ukraine had leased the base at the Crimean port of Sevastopol at below-market rates and it was time to think about raising the price.

"(We need to) raise the question about the lease payment, and new financial conditions because those old conditions were set when there was no market for land deals ... and assets which the Russian fleet uses were not considered as assets which must be paid for," he said to Reuters.

"We need to do prevent
Ukraine becoming involved in a military conflict ... We don't intend to allow troops, which could be used in military action with a third or fourth country, to use our territory as a base."

Under a 1997 pact,
Russia leases the Sevastopol base until 2017 for an annual fee of $98 million.


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