Advertisement

U.S. & Ukrainian forces launch joint military drills near Polish border

Rapid Trident involves 1800 troops from 18 countries to thwart off pro-Russian separatists in the region.

By Jared M. Feldschreiber
U.S. & Ukrainian forces launch joint military drills near Polish border
Ukrainian and U.S. troops launched new joint military drills on Monday near the Polish border in an effort to stem off what they perceive as potential Russian aggression in the region. The exercises -- dubbed Rapid Trident -- are involving 1,8000 from 18 countries, due to last for less than two weeks. File photo: Shutterstock

YAVORIV, Ukraine, July 20 (UPI) -- Ukrainian and U.S. troops launched new joint military drills on Monday near the Polish border in an effort to stem off what they perceive as potential Russian aggression in the region.

The exercises -- dubbed Rapid Trident -- involve 1,800 troops from 18 countries, and are due to last less than two weeks.

Advertisement

The largely underfunded Ukrainian army continues to battle pro-Russian militias on the volatile eastern border region in a conflict that has claimed more than 6,500 lives over the past 15 months, The Malaymail reported.

"These joint maneuvers... display a broad support for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty," Ukrainian forces commander Oleksandr Syvak said during the flag-raising ceremony. The participating countries will include allies like Azerbaijan and Moldova. Alfred Renzi, the U.S. forces commander, said over the week that all participating countries "will prove an ability to cooperate as one unified force for stability."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long denied charges of orchestrating the separatist revolt on the volatile border, but also has made it abundantly clear that he sees much of Eastern Europe -- particularly the Baltic States -- as part of his sphere of influence. In March 2014, the internationally recognized Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation.

Advertisement

Russia's annexation of Crimea was seen as a part of the much larger unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine. The event was largely condemned by many world leaders and NATO as a clear violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which had originally been signed by Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine gave up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons stockpile as a result of the memorandum.

While many Western leaders argued the annexation was seen as a breach of its obligation to Ukraine under the memorandum, Russia has said that it never applied to the separation of Crimea, driven by an internal and socio-economic crisis.

President Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have visited Crimea in the past year, causing even greater consternation to Ukraine and U.S. allies. For their part, Moscow perceives U.S. -- and NATO's -- assistance to Ukraine as an effort to deny its legitimate geopolitical interests.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement