The agreement, reached just 24 hours before the current agreement expires on Tuesday, prevented a possible interruption of Russian gas flow to Europe and helped Moscow avoid another blow to its reputation as a long-term energy supplier after Russian oil exports to Europe were contaminated earlier this year. BUCHAREST (ICIS) – Ukraine and Russia have signed a five-year transit agreement for guaranteed minimum amounts from 2020, Ukraine`s Naftogaz confirmed late Monday. Under the Treaty of Division, the Soviet Black Sea fleet, then headquartered in the Crimean peninsula, was divided between Russia (81.7%) Ukraine (18.3%). Russia has retained the right to use the port of Sevastopol in Ukraine for 20 years until 2017.  The treaty also allowed Russia to maintain up to 25,000 soldiers, 24 artillery systems, 132 armoured vehicles and 22 military aircraft in the Crimean peninsula.  The ground rules were established in an agreement on the status of the armed forces, namely the agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the status and conditions for the deployment of the Black Sea Fleet (FSF) on the territory of Ukraine.  In particular, Russia was required to “respect Ukraine`s sovereignty, respect its legislation and exclude any interference in Ukraine`s internal affairs” and, furthermore, the Russian military was required to present its “military identity cards” when crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border; Russian forces could operate “beyond their places of intervention” only after “consultation with the competent authorities of Ukraine”.  By payment contract, Russia paid $526 million in compensation for its share of the divided fleet and accepted a $97 million price for the rental of Crimean bases. This payment was deducted from the cost of Russian gas and billed to Ukraine.  Taras Kuzio criticised the treaty and said it had been conducted by Parliament without parliamentary or public debate and after ignoring the votes against in three major committees (two of which had negative majorities).
He argued that the treaty was unconstitutional, which prohibits permanent military bases, and that it had not been discussed before a vote in the Security and National Defence Council, as required by the Constitution.  He stated that the treaty was illegitimate because it was based on only 220 MPs from three political groups; Mr Kuzio argued that the other 25 MPs were extorted, bribed or forced to emigrate from the opposition.  He added that public support for Ukraine had been “won by a lie”, that the agreement would bring cheaper Russian gas; While a new agreement with the IMF in July 2010 asked Ukraine to increase supply prices by 50% on 1 August 2010 and by an additional 50% in April 2011.  The agreements are the culmination of extensive rounds of negotiations in recent weeks, during which Gazprom has committed to repay Naftogaz an unpaid debt of $2.9 billion as part of the February 2018 Stockholm transit arbitration procedure. Naftogaz confirmed receipt of the money on December 27, 2019. Gazprom`s Russian leader, Aleksei Miller, called the agreement “a big package that restores the balance of interests between the parties.” In addition, according to Vitrenko, transit rates for additional volumes that exceed the minimum would “increase significantly”.” Russia has twice suspended gas deliveries to Ukraine — in 2006 and 2009, putting households and businesses in the cold there and in countries further west.