Ukraine to participate in 11 NATO war games in 2015

AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky
The Ukrainian army will take part in 11 international military drills this year to bolster NATO standards in troops. Despite economic crisis, Kiev will still use 5.2 percent of its 2015 budget on the army.

Ukrainian servicemen will appear at seven military drills in Europe, while four maneuvers will be hosted in Ukraine, the Ukrainian defense minister assistant, Viktoria Kushnir, said on Monday.

“These exercises are going to finalize a stage of combat training to boost NATO standards in our troops,” Kushnir said.

The largest drills will be the Ukrainian-US Rapid Trident maneuvers for ground troops and Sea Breeze, a naval exercise in Ukraine. This exercise was held as recently as last September, when NATO dispatched 700 weapons units and 50 vehicles. The US sent 200 servicemen.

A U.S. serviceman (front), accompanied by Ukrainian soldiers, takes part in military exercises outside the town of Yavoriv near Lviv, September 19, 2014. (Reuters/Roman Baluk)

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Naval Trident Juncture exercises will happen outside Ukraine, said Kushnir.

The Ukrainian Navy will also take part in a number of other drills, with American warships in the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian parliament has to give permission for maneuvers in the country. President Petro Poroshenko is expected to submit a draft to the parliament to get formal approval for this.

Since September, there have been a number of reports saying NATO member states had started supplying non-lethal military aid to Kiev.

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There have also been unconfirmed reports of lethal aid being supplied to Ukrainian troops conducting operations against anti-Kiev militia in the east of the country.

Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

READ MORE: NATO members start supplying weapons to Kiev – Ukrainian Defense Minister

In December 2014, President Petro Poroshenko signed a law cancelling the country's non-bloc status and promised to hold a national referendum on NATO accession in the next 5 to 6 years.

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The latest news about NATO supplies to Ukraine came last weekend when a cargo ship with 42 containers, loaded with allegedly non-lethal military supplies, docked at the Ukrainian port of Odessa in the Black Sea.

Also last December, Canada sent a small contingent of its military police to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian government and security forces protect territorial integrity.

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