Accompanied by Deputy Premier Oleksandr Kuzmuk, Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko, Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Deputy Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Bondar, Vice Admiral Ihor Tenyukh, Sevastopol Governor Serhiy Kunitsyn and Sevastopol City Council Chairman Valeriy Saratov, President Victor Yushchenko on Sunday, Navy Day, laid flowers at the Memorial Wall to the Heroes of Sevastopol. They observed one minute of silence to honor the defenders of Sevastopol, the President’s press office informs.

Yushchenko attended a ceremony to swear in graduates of the Nakhimov Naval Institute and presented shoulder boards and dirks to those of its cadets who had graduated with honors.

Then the President spoke to navy officers, urging the nation, “each city and each region,” to support and develop the naval forces.

The President promised his government would never leave them face-to-face with their problems: “As head of state and as supreme commander in chief, I will always care about creating worthy conditions for your service and your welfare.”

Yushchenko described Sevastopol as “the main outpost of the Ukrainian navy, its power and glory.”

He said Ukraine wanted to see its navy effective, modern and well armed. “We must be ready to quickly respond to all outer threats. This is my major task for the leadership of the naval forces. You permanently guard our sea frontiers and protectour people.”

The President praised the officers for their achievements during international military operations and exercises: “I thank you for your successful actions during the Active Endeavor operation and asmembers of the Black Sea Forces (BLACKSEAFOR). Our common goal is to have a powerful state, a powerful army and a powerful navy. We must demonstrate Ukraine's might to the world."

Yushchenko then presented state awards and apartment certificates to several officers, watched a performance and inspected the fleet.


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