KIEV, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - A naval parade is being held in the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine as the nation is marking its 23rd Independence Day since the Soviet collapse.
Odesa, which is Ukraine’s third largest city, has also been the base of the country’s fleet ever since the peninsula of Crimea on the Black Sea voted to secede from Ukraine in March 2014.
Parades are also underway in the capital Kiev and other cities where the headquarters and operation command offices of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are located.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends the navy parade that features 22 warships and 600 sailors.
Speaking at the ceremony in Kiev, Poroshenko announced the military would receive over $3 billion in funds to re-equip the army, involved in heavy fighting in Ukraine’s restive eastern provinces.
Since mid-April Kiev forces have been conducting a military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to suppress independence supporters who refused to acknowledge the new government that came to power following a February 22 coup.