Tensions between Russia and the West remain at an all time high as the US military kick off a huge military exercise in Ukraine, which many experts say are a deliberate provocation aimed at Moscow.
The 12-day military exercises named Rapid Trident are the largest drills to be held in Ukraine this year, and involve 2000 troops from 18 countries.
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The war games, primarily headed by the US army’s European division, will see members of armed troops from Ukraine, the US and many other countries take part in a series of military exercises.
Ukraine will see 800 of its troops take part while the US has the second largest representation, with 500 soldiers involved in the activities.
Yavoriv, Ukraine–Exercise Rapid Trident begins | 18 nations & 1,800 personnel. http://t.co/LyozXS2YOD pic.twitter.com/rAG1vCqmgV
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@GeoffPyatt) July 20, 2015
While officially the Rapid Trident program is designed to focus on “peacekeeping and stability operations to ensure a safe and secure environment” many have questioned why the military games have are staged in Ukraine, given the ongoing war in the country’s east. Many analysts have suggested that the games are part of a US-led approach to assert greater influence in the country, following tensions with Moscow over the handling of the Ukraine crisis.
Rapid Trident: US Humvees on tour … at the Polish-Ukrainian border at Korczowa. #Ukraine #NATO pic.twitter.com/iSUtNacDZ0 — Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) July 20, 2015
Critics have condemned Washington for initiating the training camp, which is particularly ironic given the US has hit out at Russia for allegedly working to destabilize Ukraine by supplying the country’s rebels with weapons.
US Army & Lithuanian Forces conduct bilateral training as part of #AtlanticResolve–>http://t.co/gZMMxMCLUs pic.twitter.com/SVaoNh2nc1
— US Mission to NATO (@USNATO) July 20, 2015
Russia has continually denied the accusations of military involvement in Ukraine, instead pointing out that the Rapid Trident training camp, combined with a larger build up of military personnel and equipment in eastern Europe has in fact led to an increase tensions between the nations between Russia and the West and is undermining the Minsk agreements to find a political solution to the Ukrainian conflict.