April 2 - Ukraine holds military drills near Belarussian border for acting president, who pledges financial support for army. Nathan Frandino reports.
Despite the dire economic situation, Ukraine is flying full speed ahead with military drills. As choppers and fighter jets carry out flying patterns above Desna - 80 kilometers from the border with Belarus - tanks roll out on the ground. Among the crowd of onlookers is acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchinov. During his visit, he promised that Ukraine would not cut financial supplies to the army, despite the current economic situation. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) ACTING UKRAINIAN ACTING PRESIDENT, OLEKSANDER TURCHINOV, SAYING: "Without any doubt, it's a very difficult economic situation in the country right now. Without doubt, we seriously lack money, and the country has to save money in many spheres. But in these conditions in Ukraine, the government will grant money to sustain our army as well as to refit it in order to protect the country. That's the strategic task that must be fulfilled." He also promised more business for a Ukrainian company supplying weapons and equipment. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) ACTING UKRAINIAN ACTING PRESIDENT, OLEKSANDER TURCHINOV, SAYING: "It's important for us that 'Oboronprom,' which will be back in business and securing state orders, is able to provide a full closed cycle of production of weapons for the Ukrainian army." Ukraine will host joint military exercises with European and NATO countries in the coming weeks, despite ongoing military tensions with Russia.