Ukraine’s military to invite Russia, Georgia to naval games?

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry is planning to hold naval war games in September and call on the Russian and Georgian navies to participate.

A draft project of the exercises has been submitted to the parliament, reports RIA Novosti, citing a source in the Ministry’s press service.

The exercise named “Trust 2009” is also to include Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. More than 500 personnel, a naval strike group and 10 aircraft will train in marine rescue operations, maneuvering and defense routines, according to the source.

So far, neither Russian nor Georgian officials have commented on the proposal. The two countries have had no direct diplomatic relations since August 2008, when Georgia launched an attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia, acting as a peacekeeper in the region under international mandate, intervened and drove Georgian troops away.

The armed conflict included sporadic encounters between Russian and Georgian naval forces. One Georgian vessel was destroyed in combat and another one was heavily damaged. The Georgian navy suffered further losses after Russian forces captured the port city of Gori and sank several ships.