Saturday

13th Apr 2024

Nato states begin exercise in west Ukraine, weapons deliveries

  • Two hundred troops from the US' 173rd Airborne Brigade are taking part (Photo: eur.army.mil)

Nato countries have started an annual military exercise in west Ukraine, with Kiev saying some of them have also begun delivering weapons.

The US-led exercise - “Rapid Trident” - began on Monday (15 September) in Yavoriv, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to a US statement, the 11-day drill will practice “peacekeeping and stability operations”, including “countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations, and patrolling”.

It includes 200 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy.

It also includes 1,100 troops from Nato states Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK and from former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Rapid Trident is taking place at the same time as “Maple Arch” - a Canadian-Polish drill involving Canandian, Lithuanian, and Polish soldiers in Poland.

Ukraine has taken part in similar events since 2006.

But this year's arrival of US soldiers comes as Ukrainian forces wage war against Russian troops and pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine.

US military spokesman Gregory Hicks said Rapid Trident is “proof of Nato countries’ support for states who are not alliance members”.

Canada's defence minister Rob Nicholson said Maple Arch is designed to “further regional security … in the wake of the Putin regime’s [Russia’s] aggressive military actions”.

For his part, Ukrainian defence minister Valery Heletey told press in Kiev on Sunday that some Nato countries have also started delivering arms to Ukraine in line with a deal at the recent Nato summit.

“In order to stop [Russian leader] Putin, we need weapons. And they [some Nato states] have listened to me - as of today, the process of delivering arms is being realised”, he noted.

"I have no right to disclose any specific country we reached that agreement with. But the fact is that those weapons are already on the way to us - that's absolutely true, I can officially tell you”.

Ukraine and Russia agreed a ceasefire on 5 September.

But Heletey said 3,500 Russian troops are still inside Ukraine, while 25,000 more are parked on the Russia-Ukraine border.

Pro-Russia rebels at the weekend also tried to seize Donetsk airport in east Ukraine despite the peace deal, while Russia sent what it says are 220 "aid" trucks over the border to Luhansk without letting Ukraine or the Red Cross see what is inside.

Nato leaders have repeatedly said they will not get involved in fighting in Ukraine.

EU leaders have also said there is “no military solution” to the conflict.

EU trade delay

The EU last Friday in talks with Russian and Ukrainian ministers in Brussels decided to suspend the implementation of a strategic EU-Ukraine free trade pact until 2016 to appease Russian economic concerns.

Ukrainian leaders say the accord is good for their country because it means Russia will not impose trade restrictions.

It also means Ukraine can export goods to the EU at low or zero-rate tariffs while imposing duties on EU imports.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko got a bump at the weekend when three journalists at the heart of the pro-Western “Euromaidan” movement - Serhiy Leshchenko, Mustafa Nayem, and Svitlana Zalishchuk - pledged support ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

But the EU trade delay could harm his popularity.

His deputy foreign minister, Danylo Lubkivskiy, resigned over the decision, saying on Facebook that it is “the wrong signal to everyone: the aggressor, allies and, most important, Ukrainian citizens".

Opposition leader and former PM Yulia Tymoshenko said at a party conference: “There can't be a single day of applying the brakes on our path to Europe”.

EU and Ukraine suspend trade pact

Ukraine and the EU are to delay the entry into life of a strategic trade treaty for more than one year due to Russian concerns.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us