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Russia's Black Sea Fleet rules out joint drills with Georgia


MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet will not take part in any joint naval exercises involving Georgian warships, a senior Russian military official said on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry earlier introduced to the country's parliament a plan for approving the Confidence-2009 naval exercise, which proposes the participation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Georgian Navy. Ukraine also wants Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania to take part in the exercise.

"We will not take part in any exercise jointly with the Georgian Navy - this is out of the question," said Vladimir Popovkin, a deputy defense minister.

Diplomatic ties were cut between Russia and Georgia after last August's war over South Ossetia, which began when Georgian forces attacked the province in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Russia is also part of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (Blackseafor), which also includes Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Georgia.

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