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SEVASTOPOL, April 21. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Navy can’t make part of NATO’s Black Sea flotilla for technical reasons, the governor of the federal Russian city of Sevastopol, Rear Admiral Sergey Menyailo, said Thursday.
"Ukraine’s Navy will hardly be needed by NATO’s naval group. This is ballast. In case of an open conflict against Russia, the Ukrainian navy may just fail to reach our territorial waters," the Sevastopol government press service quoted Menyailo as saying.
He said that when he was a deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet, he repeatedly saw Russian sailors towing Ukrainian colleagues whose vessels broke during joint drills.
"Prior to 2014, no one was surprised in Sevastopol when a Russian naval ship towed Ukrainian friends," Menyailo said.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukrainian naval vessels may make part of the Black Sea flotilla under NATO auspices.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.