MULTINATIONAL NAVAL EXERCISES START IN UKRAINE. The "Sea Breeze 97" maneuvers began on 23 August at Ukraine's Black Sea port of Donuzlav. Warships from the U.S. and Turkey, along with ships from Bulgaria, Georgia, and Romania, are participating in the week-long exercises. The Russian government has expressed opposition to the NATO-backed maneuvers and refused an invitation to participate. Meanwhile, Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze arrived in Ukraine on 23 August for a three-day official visit. On his arrival, Nadibaidze told journalists that military cooperation already established between the two countries could serve as a model for other nations. He also said that the formation of Georgia's military would have been impossible without Ukraine's help. Nadibaidze met with Ukrainian defense officials to discuss boosting military cooperation.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRESENTS NEW GOVERNMENT, MARKS INDEPENDENCE. Leonid Kuchma on 22 August presented the new government that he recently appointed to implement economic reforms, UNIAN reported. In a ceremony at his residence, Kuchma said the guiding principle in forming the cabinet was professionalism and not personal links, and he promised that the government will be open to scrutiny. The new cabinet, headed by Valery Pustovoitenko, has 21 ministers and is Ukraine's sixth since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. On 24 August, in a speech marking the sixth anniversary of his country's independence, Kuchma said intensive work must be carried out to solve Ukraine's internal problems. He acknowledged that the country has experienced difficult times and is still in a period of transition.