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Russia, Ukraine plan military drills



The improvement in relations between Russia and Ukraine will soon result in joint military drills in a variety of formats, officials said Sunday.

Relations between the two countries have improved significantly since Viktor Yanukovych was elected president last year, RIA Novosti reported.

“The Russian side is prepared to hold drills with Ukraine not only at sea but also in the air and on the ground,” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian Defense Minister Mykhaylo Yezhel. “These can be comprehensive, joint and separate drills, and also exercises with the participation of other countries. We are ready for any format.”

Yezhel said the “Fairway of Peace” drills could be larger in size than any previous joint exercises.

“These can be joint search operations and joint actions for the use of weapons, the closing of water areas and the arrangement of anti-submarine and air defenses,” Yezhel said.

Moscow and Kiev signed an agreement extending the lease on the Russian Black Sea fleet’s base in Sevastopol in Ukraine’s Crimea last April.

It extends the lease for 25 years beyond the agreement now in place. The current lease expires in 2017.

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