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Russia, Ukraine to restart joint naval exercise

Other News Materials 12 March 2010 16:23 (UTC +04:00)
Military forces from Russia and Ukraine will restart a naval exercise last held seven years ago, according to a Friday Ukrainian general staff statement.
Russia, Ukraine to restart joint naval exercise

Military forces from Russia and Ukraine will restart a naval exercise last held seven years ago, according to a Friday Ukrainian general staff statement, DPA reported.

The bi-lateral manoeuvres, called Farvater Mira (Fairway of Peace), will take place in June and involve warships, aircraft and hundreds of service personnel operating in the Black Sea and Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, the Interfax news agency reported.

The joint training programme began in 1997 and took place every other year through 2003. A pro-Europe government came to power in Kiev in 2005, and the Ukrainians withdrew from the exercises.

Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russia politician, was elected Ukraine's President on February 21, and a ruling coalition led by Yanukovych's Regions Ukraine political party took power in Ukraine's parliament on Thursday.

Better relations with Russia are a top Ukrainian foreign policy goal, Yanukovych said in campaign statements.

The Farvater Mira training traditionally involved land- and sea- based elements of Russia's and Ukraine's Black Sea fleets, which practiced peacekeeping operations.

Computer simulations were widely used the last time exercises were held.

Officers from Russia's and Ukraine's naval staff met in the Ukrainian port Sevastopol on Thursday, to discuss planning for the upcoming training, the Unian news agency reported.

Ukraine's military in the past decade has trained at least annually and sometimes more often with forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NAT)) - on land at Ukraine's Shiroky Lan maneuvre area and firing ranges, and at sea with elements of the US 6th Fleet.

Training with NATO forces is popular with many Ukrainian soldiers and officers, as NATO in the past has provided Kiev financial aid and material assistance such as fuel and food, without which Ukrainian combat units would be unable to move to and participate in the exercises.

Joint military operations involving Russian and Ukrainian forces have taken place less frequently, most recently in 2008 when both countries contributed warships to manoeuvres by Blackseafor, a regional naval cooperation organization led by Turkey.

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