Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 151

This week, off the coast of Crimea, the Ukrainian navy is holding its first-ever major exercise, "Sea 96," involving 10 surface ships, anti-submarine helicopters, coastal artillery, fighter planes, air defense, and marine infantry units. Commanded by Vice Admiral Volodymyr Bezkorovainy, the exercise is designed to practice escorting convoys, ferrying landing units, hunting hostile submarines, and repelling surface and airborne hostile landings.

President Leonid Kuchma, watching the exercise aboard the flagship Hetman Sahaydachny, said that it shows that "Ukraine is gathering strength" for defending its independence and borders. Kuchma termed the event "comparable in importance to the country’s admission to the Council of Europe and the adoption of the constitution" in terms of consolidating Ukrainian statehood. (Interfax-Ukraine, July 31 and August 1)

…As Fleet Dispute with Moscow Continues.