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Ukraine will hold military drills with NATO member states


Ukraine will hold military drills with NATO member states

Ukraine drills
Photo: Public Affairs Directorate of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

NATO and Ukraine will today begin four days of joint military exercises.

The drills, titled “Joint Efforts 2020”, will involve more than 100 military units, 12,000 weapons and 200 advisers and observers. Countries expected to participate include the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania and Poland. The exercises begin as the US, Ukraine and seven other mutual allies conclude Rapid Trident 20, drills involving more than 4,000 troops.

Since the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 and the outbreak of hybrid war with Russia in the east, Kiev has increasingly sought to build defence cooperation with NATO and the EU. While the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky has raised doubts about EU membership, Ukraine’s relationship with NATO has strengthened—last June Ukraine was upgraded by the alliance to become an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, joining Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Jordan and Australia.

Expect today’s drills and future exercises to further strengthen ties between Ukraine and NATO, potentially moving the country closer to full membership. However, as Russia continues to adopt a more aggressive posture toward its western neighbour in the Donbass, expect the alliance to maintain reservations toward assuming full liability over Ukrainian security while also recognising the strategic need to continue building ties.

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