LVIV, Ukraine, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- About 1,300 troops from 15 NATO countries, including about 200 U.S. troops, are in Ukraine to participate in a military exercise.
The 10-day exercise, called Rapid Trident, also involves an unspecified number of Ukrainian troops, and begins Tuesday in Lviv, near Ukraine's border with Poland and about 600 miles from Donetsk, where pro-Russian separatists are engaged in fighting the Ukrainian army. The activity was planned for July, but postponed because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Rapid Trident is a peacekeeping exercise with convoy operations, patrolling and dealing with improvised explosive devices. Live ammunition will not be used, said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren.
The decision to conduct the exercise is seen as a sign of NATO support of non-NATO member Ukraine, with involvement from several former Soviet Bloc nations who are now in NATO. It specifically excludes military involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and NATO will not supply weapons to the Ukrainian army, although individual members can provide weapons and other material.