Kiev Hosts War Games Drills

KIEV, Ukraine, -- The Ukrainian and U.S. militaries agreed to carry out joint exercises on Ukrainian soil, the head of the Ukrainian military announced.

Ukrainian Armed Forces

Washington and Kiev agreed to carry out war games maneuvers after Ukrainian officials met in Brussels with U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in January.

Col. Gen. Hryhoriy Pedchenko, the chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said both sides would conduct at least five sets of drills in Ukrainian territory.

He said the war games are to involve U.S. and Ukrainian forces but Kiev also extended invitations to the military leaders of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Russia.

"By conducting war games, Ukraine is planning to broaden its cooperation with a number of countries, not only with the United States," he said in a statement.

The goal of the exercises, dubbed Sea Breeze and Rapid Trident, are intended to improve the regional level of confidence, the Ukrainian colonel added.

Vessels with the NATO alliance began arriving in this week at Ukrainian ports to take part in the two-week period of military drills.

Ukrainian lawmakers voted against international military exercises in 2009 but reversed course in 2010. Ukraine has hosted Sea Breeze drills since 1997.

Source: UPI