The US embassy in Ukraine on Wednesday denied charges from the country's pro-Russian opposition that NATO planned to build a base in the south of the country.

"Any claims that the US or NATO plans to establish a military base in Ukraine are incorrect," Brent Byers, a spokesman for the US embassy in Kiev, TurkishPress quoted AFP.

The comment came after protests at the docking of a US Navy ship in Crimea as part of Ukrainian-NATO military exercises.

Pro-Russian opposition protesters claimed the ship was delivering weapons, but Ukrainian and US officials said it was only carrying materials for barracks.

One opposition party asserted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intended to establish a base in Ukraine.

"What the construction materials will be used for is to enhance the basic living conditions at the Ukrainian training facility at Starokrymsky" in Crimea, Byers said.

The "Sea Breeze 2006" maneuvers are designed to develop military cooperation between NATO members and their former Cold-War Warsaw Pact enemies, who are now participants in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace.

Ukraine's pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko is in favor of Ukraine ultimately joining NATO, but a sizable faction of the population is opposed to that goal.

Opposition to the Western military alliance is strongest in the Crimean peninsula, which serves as the base for the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.


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