Ukraine to hold joint military exercises with U.S. and Britain after announcing troop withdrawal from Crimea

  • Security chief Andriy Parubiy says nations will work together to deter Russia
  • MoD sats Britain ‘routinely’ holds military exercises with Ukraine
  • News comes as embattled nation withdraws troops from Crimea
  • Ukraine also demanded the release of its navy chief Admiral Serhiy Hayduk

Ukraine asked Britain for military support last night amid growing fears that Russia is set to launch a fresh land grab in Eastern Europe.

The embattled nation’s security chief Andriy Parubiy called for joint military exercises with the United States and Britain to deter Russia from seizing the rest of Eastern Ukraine.

He said Ukraine will hold manoeuvres with the two Western nations following the annexation of Crimea.

Planning is going ahead for one exercise – codenamed Rapid Trident 14 – to be held near Lviv, close to the Polish border in western Ukraine, in July.

An MoD insider said: ‘This is nothing to do with the current situation in Ukraine and it is not an exercise in, “Right, let’s go and practice battering the Russians”.’

The news of the joint exercises emerged as Ukraine announced it was drawing up plans to withdraw its soldiers and their families from Crimea following the storming of its naval bases by pro-Russian froces.

Mr Parubiy said he wanted to move them ‘quickly and effciently’ to mainland Ukraine.

Immediately after the Sevastopol base was seized heavily-armed men wearing unmarked uniforms began guarding it. Alexsandr Vitko, commander of Moscow’s Black Sea fleet, later strode in to cheers from the crowd.

Ukraine demanded the release of Admiral Serhiy Hayduk, its navy chief, who was reported to have been detained in the incident.

‘There was nothing we could do,’ said a Ukrainian officer. ‘Everything happened spontaneously.’

As Ukrainian troops started leaving in civilian clothing a self-appointed spokesman for the pro-Russian militia, Igor Yeskin, said raids on other military bases would continue because ‘the Ukrainian military is on the territory of the Russian Federation’.

Any involvement in military activities now will be seen as sucking Britain deeper into the crisis.

The Mail understands defence chiefs have also put a squadron of ground troops on standby for operations in the Baltic States as tensions escalate.

Full article: Ukraine to hold joint military exercises with U.S. and Britain after announcing troop withdrawal from Crimea (Daily Mail)

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