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Troops from 15 countries to hold exercises in western Ukraine

September 04, 2014, 9:22 UTC+3 4 4/9
The exercises are planned to be held near Ukraine’s city of Lviv from September 16 to 26
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© Archive EPA/Sgt. Christina Dion

WASHINGTON, September 4. /ITAR-TASS/. About 1,300 troops from 15 countries will participate in the Rapid Trident 2014 exercises in western Ukraine this September, representative for the U.S. armed forces’ European command, Gregory Hicks, told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.

The exercises are planned to be held near Ukraine’s city of Lviv from September 16 to 26 with the participation of Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, the United States and NATO representatives.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday that 200 American soldiers would participate in the exercises. In reply to the question about Russia’s possible reaction, she said the exercises were planned and it would have been strange if they had been cancelled. She also said that military exercises were important part of cooperation with many countries, including Ukraine.

NATO enforcement in Eastern Europe

September 1, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that the alliance was set to form brand new Rapid Deployment Force, which would regularly participate in major military drills in Europe and other countries.  Rasmussen specified that in order to implement this plan, a relevant infrastructure was needed in the member-states.

NATO Secretary General underscored that the possible number of the alliance’s new bases and the formation of the Rapid Deployment Force would be discussed at the NATO summit in Wales September 4-5.

Earlier, German media reported that the alliance plans to deploy five military bases in Eastern Europe: in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania and Poland.

Later, Estonian minister of foreign affairs said that he raised his voice for enforcing the presence of NATO, emphasizing that “the security for all the members of the alliance should be the same”.

Meanwhile, September 3, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that despite the tense relations with Russia, the alliance’s leaders do not intend to breach the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security signed by NATO and Russia in 1997, which, in particular, confirms the term that they do not consider each other as rivals.

NATO representatives also said that the NATO-Ukraine commission would not discuss the issue of arms supplies to Kiev at the Wales summit, since it is “technically impossible”.

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