At the national level it is necessary to complete the inventory of all real estate and some plots of land leased to the Russian Black Sea Navy and to draw up a list of all those facilities and plots of land, which have not been included into the Addendum to the Agreement, but are still being used by the military units of the Russian Black Sea Navy. Additional agreements should be made providing for their lease and relevant lease-holding payments.
Sub-lease by the Russian Black Sea Navy of any facilities and plots of land, provided for its own needs according to the Agreement, to whatever profit-making businesses should be prohibited. In case of refusal by the Russian side to pay for additional lease it is imperative to demand that it should gradually release all the, docks, plots of land and other similar facilities for the use by the city of Sevastopol.
Thirdly, following the withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Navy from the territory of Ukraine, the problem of providing jobs to those Ukrainian citizens who had serviced the Russian military units will be high on the agenda. Around 2% of the working population of the city of Sevastopol are now employed in the area of servicing the Russian Black Sea Navy. Therefore, early measures to address the problem of employment for these people should be envisaged in the State programme for economic and social development of the city of Sevastopol. The implementation of this programme should bring about a significant demilitarisation of the city.
And last but not the least, among the economic problems that would arise following the demise of the Russian military presence, we should expect the Russian side to claim compensation and/or grievances allegedly due to the lack of budget funds for re-deployment of the Russian Black Sea Navy from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. Russia will probably demand additional financial compensation or stretching out the time frame allotted for pre-scheduled withdrawal of its military units, or it will demand both.
Thus, the resolution of these very challenging issues related to the withdrawal of the Black Sea Navy from the territory of Ukraine, as Ukraine goes through the process of accession to NATO, will require their discussion on a trilateral or multi-lateral basis with the involvement of the leading NATO nations, first and foremost the USA.
There is another way of addressing this problem: through the signing of a trilateral agreement between NATO, Russia and Ukraine on maintaining the Russian military presence until the expiry of the Agreement about the status, terms and conditions for the deployment of the Russian Black Sea Navy on the territory of Ukraine, by stipulating all relevant military and political commitments. But even this option would require the establishment of conditions for the withdrawal of the Russian troops and this process should start no later than from the year of 2006.
A very important component of Euro-Atlantic integration is the assessment of Ukraine's own readiness for NATO membership and the degree of its compliance with political and military criteria for such membership. In addition of how the Ukrainian public perceives Ukraine's accession to the Alliance.
The public opinion in Ukraine vis-a-vis the North Atlantic Alliance differs from public perception of NATO in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics. The main difference is the lower support, percentagewise, for NATO membership as compared with the support for accession to the EU. Thus, for instance, the level of support for NATO membership in Ukraine, overall, varies between 19 and 33 percent while the support for accession to the EU is between 45 and 65 percent. By contrast with Ukraine, most countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries show that the level of support for NATO membership, overall, surpasses that for accession to the EU. These findings can be explained by two factors. Firstly, the Ukrainian public opinion has retained a deep-rooted stereotyped image of NATO as a hostile and aggressive alliance, which goes back to the Soviet times, and, secondly, Ukraine still has a long way to go in order to qualify for accession to the EU and, therefore, fears and misgivings that eurosceptics in Central and Eastern European countries are holding vis-a-vis the EU, bear little relevance for Ukraine.
In the regional perspective the situation is as follows. The residents of Western and Northern regions tend to regard NATO as a defensive alliance. The perceptions of NATO as a defensive alliance and as an aggressive military bloc are almost equally divided in Kyiv, central, northwestern and southeastern regions. The perception of NATO as an aggressive military bloc is predominant in the Crimea, Eastern, Southern,south-western and north-eastern regions.
In accordance with these perceptions, the Western and Northern regions have the biggest number of proponents of Ukraine's accession to NATO (33.7%) and the smallest number of opponents (21.5%). In the Central region the proponents of NATO accession make up 22.1% and the opponents 39.5%. In the Eastern region these figures are 19.7% and 48.7% respectively. In the Crimea 19.2% of the population are proponents and 44.4% are opponents.
The above-indicated data point to the ambivalence of the Ukrainian public opinion and the big regional and age-related differences. However, each region, just as each age and/or occupational group, has a well-established core group of the population oriented towards the European values and European integration. The majority of these people support NATO membership. But insufficient support for Ukraine's accession to NATO cannot be explained only by Soviet stereotypes, pro-Russian or anti-American sentiments. To a large degree, NATO scepticism is due to people's fear of belonging to whatever "bloc" that may drag Ukraine into a military conflict. A significant part of Ukraine's population believes that accession to NATO is a much too costly project for a poor country like Ukraine. An effective influence on public opinion building should be exercised aiming at eliminating such stereotypes of thinking, which have been shaped up as a result of insufficient public awareness of the true benefits of NATO membership. A decisive role in eliminating such stereotypes should be