Moscow and Kiev will soon sign an agreement regulating the upcoming overhaul of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, the Russian defense minister said on Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported.

"This new document will allow the Black Sea Fleet to maintain the number of personnel and weaponry at the levels stipulated in the 1997 Russian-Ukrainian accords on the Black Sea Fleet," Anatoly Serdyukov said after a meeting of CIS defense ministers in Ukraine's Crimea.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet is stationed in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol under a lease agreement. Moscow and Kiev recently signed a deal extending the lease on the fleet's base in Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.

Russia is seeking to bring its ageing Soviet-era fleet up to modern standards as part of a larger effort to modernize its armed forces.

At present, the Black Sea Fleet has about 40 operational vessels, including a single diesel-electric submarine, but most of them are slated for decommissioning.

Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky earlier said that the fleet would be reinforced with 15 new combat ships and diesel-electric submarines by 2020.


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