On Monday, Ukraine launched joint military exercises with US and other NATO forces, at a time when Russia and Belarus were conducting large-scale drills that frightened the West.
Ukraine, which has been at war with separatists supported by Russia since 2014, has long wanted stronger ties with Western forces in the hopes of eventually joining NATO.
The “RAPID TRIDENT – 2021” drill, which will run through Oct. 1, will involve 4,000 Ukrainian troops and 2,000 foreigners, according to a spokesman for the Ukrainian defense ministry.
“I believe that each of you will concentrate all of your knowledge, all of your efforts in order to show the aggressor countries that they have no chance,” said Ihor Palahniuk, Ukraine’s training commander, at the opening ceremony of the International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yaroviv in the country’s west.
The drill comprised a brigade combat team of the Washington National Guard, which has been deployed in Ukraine since April as part of a multi-national training force, according to the US military. The troops would come from a total of 12 countries, with the goal of “improving interoperability among allied and partner nations” and demonstrating readiness.