The Black Sea fleet was the part of the Soviet navy that shadowed the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean. Obsolete as it is, the fleet is capable of doing a powerful amount of harm, some of it nuclear. But with the lesson of the Yugoslav army in view, the Black Sea fleet is a menace particularly to the two countries that claim it, Russia and Ukraine. One of the things the 300-vessel armada has the capability to do is blow itself out of the water.
Russia and Ukraine have threatened to destroy the Commonwealth of Independent States in their rival claims on the fleet, tied to their rival claims on the Crimean peninsula. One vessel mutinied and deserted, flying the Ukrainian flag, with Russian vessels in pursuit. Each country fears the other turning the Black Sea into its own lake. But the agreement of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Kravchuk puts the issue on ice and lets the two countries get on with their relationship.
They could not agree on how to divide the Black Sea fleet, so they delayed doing so three years. The interim measures of apportioning command and promotion and assigning bases are also postponed for decision. During this period, the fleet should destroy its nuclear weapons, and the two nations should come to other political understandings.