MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Up to 20 warships and auxiliary vessels of the Ukrainian navy could become part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet following the reunification of Crimea with Russia, a senior Russian lawmaker said Tuesday.
According to Adm. (Ret.) Vladimir Komoyedov, chair of the State Duma Committee on Defense, the Ukrainian navy comprises some 40 ships, 20 of which are currently docked at naval bases in Crimea at Sevastopol and Donuzlav Bay.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Crimea signed a treaty Tuesday reunifying Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with Russia. The Russian parliament is expected to ratify the treaty imminently.
“We can now assume that the ships that remain in Crimea will initially become part of the Crimean self-defense forces and will later join Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” Komoyedov told RIA Novosti.
The Ukrainian ships that could be taken over by Russia include two corvettes, a command ship, several missile boats, minesweepers and the only Ukrainian submarine – the Foxtrot-class Zaporizhia diesel-electric boat, the admiral said.
The Russian navy will also gain a developed naval infrastructure on the Crimean peninsula, including the Belbek naval airbase and a network of coastal fortifications, Komoyedov said.