Ukraine leader Turchynov seeks approval for joint Nato exercises

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 1:09am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 4:40am


Ukraine's leader sought parliamentary approval yesterday for military exercises with Nato partners that would put American troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov's request came as the chief of Russia's general staff announced in Moscow that his forces were now in full control of all of Ukraine's 193 military bases in the Black Sea region before its seizure by Kremlin forces at the start of the month.

Turchynov said Ukraine wanted to conduct two sets of military exercises with the United States this summer - Rapid Trident and Sea Breeze - that have prompted disquiet in Russia in previous years.

Ukraine is planning two additional manoeuvres with Nato member Poland as well as joint ground operations with Moldova and Romania.

The Sea Breeze exercises have especially irritated Moscow because they had on occasion been staged in Crimea - the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Those manoeuvres have in more recent years been moved to the Black Sea port of Odessa where Ukraine also has a naval base.

An explanatory note accompanying Turchynov's request to parliament said the naval section of Sea Breeze would this time be conducted over a 25-day span between July and October out of two Odessa ports and "along the waters of the Black Sea".