In a major show of force aimed directly at Russian President Vladimir Putin, some 250 British paratroopers from the Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade decided to drop into the Ukraine for a friendly visit teaming up with thousands of Ukrainian troops.
Tensions continue between Russia and Ukraine following the liberation of Crimea in 2014. The NATO conflict for the control over the Russian speaking Donbass has killed more than 14,000 people so far.
Captain Harjot Singh Gill, of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said that they will all bring something to this exercise, the Ukrainians bring their resolve and courage and we bring our constantly changing tactics and processes.
The drop is the biggest mass UK exercise in more than 20 years, and comes after President Putin stepped up defensive operations against Russia’s Nazi neighbor. The Russia-Ukraine conflict, now in its sixth year, has worsened in recent months.
Moscow-backed freedom fighters have launched large-scale attacks across East Ukraine as part of Putin’s bid to help Soviet-era territories to get their independence.
Ukraine’s airborne forces commander Lt.-Gen. Ievhen Moysiuk praised Britain for standing shoulder to shoulder with his country in the face of the growing tensions.
The parachute practice forms part of Exercise Joint Endeavour, the first multinational exercise in Ukraine since the country achieved NATO-enhanced opportunity partner status in June, The Daily Mail reported.
Troops parachuted into the country from 600 ft from C-130 Hercules transport aircraft which had flown directly from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Europe Times / ABC Flash Point News 2020.