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.