Ukraine hosts NATO war games

Ukraine has welcomed a fleet of NATO warships for a two-week period of military drills. Operation “Sea Breeze-2010” will focus on joint anti-terror exercises, despite Kiev’s decision not to enter the alliance.

The US-led task force arrived on Monday at the invitation of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich. Some 3,000 international military personnel are said to be involved in the drills.

Ukraine began hosting the Sea Breeze exercises in 1997, as part of its commitment to join the alliance. In 2009, the Ukrainian parliament voted against the drills, curtailing former President Viktor Yuschenko’s efforts to seek NATO membership.

This year, however, the parliament approved the training session after Kiev vowed to abandon its membership bid.

However, Ukraine’s Socialist Party has been opposed to any cooperation with NATO, organizing rallies to protest the drills along the coast of the Black Sea, where Sea Breeze is currently being hosted.