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Ukraine Wraps Up Major Paratroop Drill on Black Sea Coast

© AFP 2021 / YURIY DYACHYSHYN US and Ukrainian soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukrainian-US military exercise 'Fearless Guardian' at the Yavoriv training ground
US and Ukrainian soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukrainian-US military exercise 'Fearless Guardian' at the Yavoriv training ground - Sputnik International
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Ukrainian paratroopers wrapped up a massive military exercise Saturday. The drill involved over 3,000 troops, hundreds of armored vehicles and aircraft.

Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US Army in Europe - Sputnik International
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The exercise, the biggest in years, was held in the Nikolaev region on the Black Sea coast, Ukraine’s 1+1 TV channel reported Sunday.

President Petro Poroshenko who attended the drill on Saturday as part of an ongoing visit to the region, said he hoped some of the country’s “occupied” regions would soon be liberated, but added that Ukrainian military would not be the first to attack.

Hundreds of US paratroopers arrived in Ukraine earlier this month to train Kiev’s forces fighting pro-independence militia in the country’s eastern Donbass region; a move Russia warned could “destabilize” the country.

“The participation of instructors and experts from third countries on Ukrainian territory… of course, does not help to resolve the conflict,” President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, quoted by Russian news agencies. “On the contrary, it can seriously destabilize the situation,” he said.

Fighting between the independence supporters and Ukrainian forces is rumbling on in the east despite a February cease-fire agreement, which has been repeatedly ignored.

US President Barack Obama has come under pressure from some US lawmakers and military officials to send weapons to the Kiev government, but has so far held back.

Some of his European allies, including Germany, have warned that sending arms would escalate the bloodshed.

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