Tags: Russia | Ukraine | Ukraine | Russia | conflict | military | drills
Image: Eyeing Putin, US Leads Fresh Military Drills in Ukraine

Eyeing Putin, US Leads Fresh Military Drills in Ukraine

Monday, 20 Jul 2015 06:56 AM

Ukrainian and U.S. troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country's Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin.

The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just under two weeks.

Their immediate aim is to build resolve and cohesion within the ex-Soviet state's outdated and woefully underfunded armed forces, caught in a 15-month east Ukrainian quagmire against pro-Russia militias that has claimed more than 6,500 lives.

But they also deliver a transparent message to the Kremlin about Washington and its allies' determination to thwart any expansionist ambitions Russian President Vladimir Putin may have.

"These joint maneuvers ... display a broad support for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty," Ukrainian forces commander Oleksandr Syvak told the festive flag-raising ceremony.

His U.S. counterpart Alfred Renzi said the participating countries — most of them NATO members but also such former Soviet nations as Moldova and Azerbaijan — "will prove an ability to cooperate as one unified force for stability."

Putin has always denied charges of orchestrating Ukraine's separatist revolt to unsettle the pro-Western leadership that rose to power in the wake of last year's ouster of a Moscow-backed president.

But the veteran Russian leader — immensely popular at home for his patriotic fervor and increasingly isolated abroad — has done little to hide that he sees much of eastern Europe as part of Moscow's traditional sphere of influence.

Russia set nerves jangling across Europe by sending its fighter jets shooting toward the skies of Baltic and Nordic nations with increasing regularity in recent months.

Washington and NATO have denounced such steps as both hostile and dangerous to civilian aircraft.

The Kremlin counters that it is only doing what the United States has been for decades — flexing its military muscle in far-off countries to build a "unipolar world."

The launch of Rapid Trident was quickly followed by the Russian navy's announcement that one of its warships stationed off Ukraine's Kremlin-annexed Crimean peninsula would conduct live rocket fire drills Sunday.

"After a long interruption and in order to demonstrate the navy's combat capabilities, the Ladny frigate will attack a dummy target from an anti-submarine system," Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov told Moscow's news agencies.

Russia marks its annual navy day Sunday and such activities are planned well in advance.

But the scale of Russia's celebration this year has been grander than most.

Trukhachyov said that more than 30 naval vessels and another 30 jets and military helicopters would show off their capabilities near their tsarist-era base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The ships will be accompanied by Su-27 interceptor and Su-25 ground attack jets.

It was not immediately clear if any senior Russian officials intended to oversee the festivities.

Both Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have stirred outrage in Kiev by visiting Crimea in the past year.

Yet the Western drills in Yavoriv — a village lying just 15 kilometers (about 10 miles) east of Poland — are upsetting to Moscow as well.

Russia accuses the United States of funding and arming the nationalist forces that spearheaded the pro-European protests in Kiev last year.

Much of Moscow's state media now portrays the West's military involvement in Ukraine as an effort to intimidate Russia and deny its legitimate geopolitical interests.

 

 

© AFP 2017

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Ukrainian and US troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country's Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just...
Ukraine, Russia, conflict, military, drills
551
2015-56-20
Monday, 20 Jul 2015 06:56 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved