According to main-stream media hysteria, Putin has invaded Crimea, and WWIII is about to break out. The truth is, however, that Russia is well within the bounds of a treaty that was signed in 1997 and ratified by Russia and Ukraine in 1999.
Historically, Russia has had a naval presence in Crimea since 1783, when the port city of Sevastopol was founded by Russian Prince Grigory Potemkin. Crimea was part of Russia until it was given to Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khruschev. In 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed a Partition Treaty that determined the fate of the military bases and vessels in Crimea.
The original treaty stipulated that the Russian Black Sea Fleet can stay in Crimea until 2017, and has since been extended by another 25 years to 2042. According to the treaty, Russian naval units are allowed to implement security measures at their permanent posts, as well as during re-deployments, in cooperation with Ukrainian forces. Among other things, the treaty allows Russia to have the following in Crimean territory:
- 25,000 troops.
- 24 artillery systems with a caliber smaller than 100 mm.
- 132 armored vehicles.
- 22 military planes.
Currently, in compliance with the treaty, Russia has five naval units stationed in the port city of Sevastopol:
- The 30th Surface Ship Division, which is comprised of the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, Moskva, as well as Kerch, Ochakov, Smetlivy, Ladny, and Pytlivy vessels, and the 197th Landing Ship Brigade, which consists of seven large amphibious vessels.
- The 41st Missile Boat Brigade, which includes the 166th Fast Attack Craft Division, consisting of Bora and Samum hovercrafts as well as the small missile ships, Mirazh and Shtil, and 295th Missile Boat Division.
- The 247th Separate Submarine Division, which consists of two diesel submarines:B-871 Alrosa and B-380 Svyatoy Knyaz Georgy.
- The 68th Harbor Defense Ship Brigade which includes 4 vessels from the 400th Antisubmarine Ship Battalion and the 418 Mine Hunting Ship Division.
- The 422nd Separate Hydrographic Ship Division, which includes the Cheleken, Stvor, Donuzlav, GS-402 survey vessels and hydrographic boats.
Russia also has two airbases in Crimea in Kacha and Gvardeysky.