Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put US troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.
“This is a good opportunity to develop our armed forces,” acting defence minister Mykhailo Koval told Verkhovna Rada lawmakers ahead of the 235-0 vote.
NATO has sought to reinforce its eastern frontier after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula and amid concerns about the Kremlin’s emboldened foreign policy.
Ukraine is not a NATO member and its new Western-backed leaders have vowed not to push for closer relations with the Brussels-based military alliance – a bloc that has been viewed with deep mistrust by Moscow since the Cold War.
But the former Soviet nation did form a “distinctive partnership” with the Alliance in 1997 and has been staging joint exercises with its state members ever since.
Full article: Ukraine agrees to host NATO war games (Sidney Morning Herald)