Military conducts anti-invasion drills
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko oversaw military exercises yesterday aimed at preparing to fight off an invasion amid growing tensions with Russia.
“The Ukrainian army can fulfil its constitutional duty” to defend Ukraine, Yushchenko told journalists after watching 3,000 troops, as well as fighter aircraft, tanks and helicopters, take part in the exercises.
A spokesman for the defence ministry emphasised that the exercises were planned last year and had no link to the current political crisis in Ukraine or the conflict between Georgia and Russia that erupted in August.
Yushchenko has complained of interference by Russia in Ukraine’s domestic affairs in recent weeks.
He has also imposed restrictions on the movement of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in southern Ukraine.
European officials have warned Ukraine could be the next flashpoint for tensions with Russia because of its large Russian-speaking population, disputes over the Black Sea Fleet and Ukraine’s bid to join Nato.
[Source: Gulf Times, AFP, Rivne, Ukr, 19Sep08]
The Question of South Ossetia
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