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MOSCOW, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s customs service unjustifiably keeps over 14,000 tonnes of diesel fuel intended for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s information department, Maria Zakharova, said on Tuesday.
“The negotiations on the whole range of issues related to Russia’s fleet proceed within the framework of the sub-commission on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and its presence on the Ukrainian territory of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission as well as at the level of delegations responsible for the drafting of additional agreements on this issue,” she said.
“Unfortunately, they proceed rather inactively despite Russian negotiators’ efforts,” Zakharova said.
“As concerns customs issues we have to state that the talks have been suspended unilaterally by the Ukrainian side at the end of November 2011,” she recalled. “Ukrainian partners’ promise to hold the relevant meeting in October 2012 was not fulfilled.”
“Meanwhile, Ukraine’s customs services without any legal grounds continue to demand the payment of taxes (a value added tax and an excise tax) for cargoes delivered to Russia’s military units exclusively to ensure the fleet’s operation,” the diplomat said. “They do not go to the Ukrainian market and have no relation to trade that is regulated among other things by the customs rules. Such a situation has been remaining unchanged for 14 years.”
“At present, Sevastopol’s customs service keeps over 14,000 tonnes of diesel fuel necessary for the fleet to fulfil the tasks set,” Zakharova said. “The customs service demands the payment of taxes once again without providing any necessary legal grounds. This evidently contradicts both Ukraine’s legislation and provisions of the basic agreements on the fleet concerning non-interference of Ukraine’s governmental bodies into internal life of Russia’ s military units and the safekeeping of property.”
“Such a state of affairs cannot but concern the Russian side. The actions of Ukraine’s customs services evidently do not fit into the framework of relations of strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” Zakharova said. “Russian representatives are taking steps to resolve the situation.”