11:11 13.11.2018

Ukraine, NATO not planning joint exercises in Sea of Azov — Prystaiko

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Ukraine, NATO not planning joint exercises in Sea of Azov — Prystaiko

NATO is not going to conduct joint exercises with Ukraine in the Sea of Azov to avoid provoking Russia, Vadym Prystaiko, head of Ukraine's Mission to NATO, has said.

"Joint exercises or an operation in the Sea of Azov will definitely be considered by Russia as a provocation. Thus, the Alliance is not planning to provoke Russia… As of now, we have no plans with NATO to have exercises in the Sea of Azov," Prystaiko said in an interview to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

He said the entry by naval ships into the Sea of Azov is now problematic.

Prystaiko said of special interest to Ukraine's partners are the ships belonging to NATO member-states that have been arrested in the Sea of Azov.

"Neither the Alliance, nor Ukraine are interested in deepening the conflict even further. Today we are more concerned with how to protect our shoreline, and how to expand our capabilities there. In particular, we have been building a small naval base in the Sea of Azov and bringing more missile launchers and artillery there. Some time ago we conducted our own exercises, which involved the firing of missiles," the envoy said.

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