NEWS: UK and NATO troops to conduct exercise in Ukraine

British troops on exercise in Ukraine in 2014 (army.mod.uk)

British troops on exercise in Ukraine in 2014 (army.mod.uk)

Rapid Trident 2015 will involve British soldiers together with troops from several other partner nations including the United States in the west of the country. The location of the exercise has been made very public so as to stem Russian suspicion that the exercise is really a cover for NATO involvement in the fight against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country which continues despite several ceasefires being declared.

The exercise is scheduled to begin on the 20th of July and will last up to 11-days. According to the UK government the exercise is

…designed to promote regional stability and security, strengthen Ukraine’s defensive capacity, and build trust between participating nations. It also aims to improve the ability of Ukraine and partner nations to conduct joint operations, and to develop the capacity of our partners in Eastern Europe to contribute to international peacekeeping operations.

Again the wording here is very careful given the sensitive situation in the Ukraine. The wording makes no mention of the situation in the east of the country almost ignoring it completely which again is most likely a careful effort not to openly antagonise the Russian position. It would be natural that any military exercise in the Ukraine by the west would be viewed upon suspiciously by the Russians as they themselves began their involvement in the Crimea in 2014 under the guise of a military exercise. Rapid Trident has been an ongoing series of exercises since 1998 which again adds to the impression that the exercise is not related to the situation in east Ukraine.

However, the UK government statement does discretely add;

While the purpose of this training is to develop the capacity of participating soldiers to take part in international peacekeeping operations, the skills being shared are essential tasks for any defence force as they will need to protect themselves and personnel under their protection.

This more or less implies that skills learned during the exercise can at least be applied to the situation in the east of the country if that is not the true purpose of the exercise in the first place.

British forces involved in the exercise will include Battle Group Headquarters staff and an infantry platoon from the 1st Battalion The Rifles amounting to a total of around 50 personnel. The exercise will take place in two phases the first of which will see British forces training Ukrainian personnel in how to organise an effective defence against an attacking forces and will primarily revolve around the command and control role. The second phase will concentrate on battle skills and will test the training undertaken during phase one.

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6 responses to “NEWS: UK and NATO troops to conduct exercise in Ukraine

  1. I do hope that we are not going to go back to the stupid, money wasting days of the Cold War. I am also rather disappointed that all these clever strategists have not yet worked out who constitutes the real threat to our way of life…and the Russian one. A really interesting blog post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you say that John. I am currently writing up an analysis of British support for Ukraine and I made that comparison that the situation is almost a microcosmic version of the Cold War with Russia arming and training one side and the west doing the same with their allies who fight it out on behalf of their benefactors.

      Like

  2. Pingback: What is the extent of British support to Ukraine? | Defence of the Realm

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