KIEV, Ukraine, April 21 (UPI) -- Ukraine has extended the lease allowing Russia's Black Sea Fleet to be stationed in Ukraine by 25 years in exchange for cheaper Russia gas.
The lease, which was to expire in 2017, allows the fleet to access the Ukrainian port of Sewastopol.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to the deal, which was signed Wednesday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, BBC News reports.
It comes as the latest sign of improving ties between Moscow and Kiev.
Since being inaugurated in February, Yanukovych has made it clear he wants to improve ties with Ukraine's powerful neighbor Russia.
Yanukovych earlier this month abandoned the country's NATO membership plans, which had angered the Kremlin. At the same time, he has been careful not to alienate the West, choosing Brussels as his first foreign trip.
The former Ukrainian government has had trouble paying the bills for imported Russian gas, which led to several price rows with Moscow.
One such conflict last year temporarily halted supplies to Europe, damaging Kiev's reputation as a reliable transit partner.
|Additional Special Reports Stories|
KAMPALA, Uganda, May 21 (UPI) --Ugandan police closed down the offices of the Daily Monitor after it ran a series of articles about the president making his son successor, journalists said.
NEW YORK, May 21 (UPI) --U.S. hip-hop mogul Jay-Z says his wife Beyonce is not pregnant with their second child, despite persistent rumors claiming she is.
WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) --A member of Congress who led an investigation into the BP oil spill in 2010 expressed outrage that a judge threw out a charge against a former BP executive.