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Ukraine: Parliament Rejects Ban On NATO Training

Kyiv, 15 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Ukrainian parliament today rejected a motion by leftwing factions to ban NATO training on Ukrainian territory later this year. The motion was introduced by the Communist, Socialist and Agrarian factions.

The Sea Breeze exercises are scheduled at the end of August off Ukraine's Crimean peninsula with the participation of 20 ships and 300 marines from the U.S., Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Romania and Georgia.

The left-wing factions claimed that the exercises, as well as an earlier training exercise this month, were unconstitutional.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko assured deputies that the exercises did not run counter to the Ukrainian constitution. Udovenko said that the fact that Kyiv had not applied to join NATO did not mean that it should not cooperate with the alliance.

Defense Minister Olexander Kuzmuk told deputies that all NATO training exercises were financed by the alliance and they were peacekeeping in nature.