MOSCOW, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Russian Navy plans to commission new Lada-class vessels to the Black Sea Fleet, which is required to equipped with eight to ten submarines in active service, a senior Navy official said Tuesday.
"We are planning to deploy additional submarines with the Black Sea Fleet, including new Lada-class vessels, but our plans are being hampered by Ukraine, which sees this as the deployment of new weaponry rather than an upgrade of the existing fleet," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Oleg Burtsev, vice admiral and deputy head of the navy general staff, as saying.
Based in Crimea, Ukraine, the Black Sea Fleet currently deploys one Project 877 Kilo class diesel-electric submarine, with another Project 641 Foxtrot class sub undergoing a long-term overhaul.
The fleet uses some naval facilities in Crimea as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced last year that his country would not extend the lease.
The port of Novorossiisk would serve as an alternative to deploy additional submarines when the build-up of necessary infrastructure is completed, Burtsev said.
The first Lada-lass diesel-electric submarine will be deployed in 2010.