Ukraine has turned down a Russian proposal to extend the lease for the naval base used by Russia`s Black Sea Fleet, according to AP.

Russia wants the fleet to remain in the Crimean port of Sevastopol beyond 2017. The Kremlin is eager to maintain its strategic foothold on the Crimean Peninsula, which was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine`s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that the issue "cannot be a subject of discussion." It said that Russian ships will have to leave Ukrainian waters in 2017.

Russia has said it wants to negotiate new terms when 2017 draws closer. Moscow hopes pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko will be out of power by then.


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