YAVORIV, Ukraine (July 21, 2015) -- The "Warriors" of Exercise Rapid Trident 2015 began their multi-national exercise at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center with an opening ceremony here, July 20.

Rapid Trident, which is taking place July 20-31, is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise focused on peacekeeping and stability operations. It is part of a U.S. European Command Joint Exercise Program designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations.

The exercise's objective is to enhance interoperability and military-to-military relationships between land forces of the U.S. and Ukraine and other participating NATO/Partnership for Peace nations while assisting Ukraine's efforts to develop interoperable and fully deployable units.

"Over the past year, Ukraine has gone to great effort, during these difficult times, to set the conditions for high quality training," said Col. Alfred Rienzi, chief of assessments, U.S. Army Europe G3 for operations. "Supported by dedicated professionals from our allies, we are all poised to execute a premier event, which is far bigger and more ambitious this year, both here in Yavoriv, and connected to distant training centers."

Participating countries include the Ukraine, United States, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The exercise comes at the explicit request of the Ukrainian government and military.

More than 1,800 service members from 18 different nations will take part in this year's cooperative effort to not only enhance defense modernization but also to continue the effort to bring U.S./NATO standardization to the Ukrainians. Each nation is seen as a valued participant in regional security and international engagements. Ukrainians have participated in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, the Mediterranean Sea and Africa.

"Today's presence here, of such a powerful cohort of our partners and comrades in arms, demonstrates the broad international support for the struggle of the Ukrainian nation for sovereignty and territorial integrity as a democratic European state," said Ukrainian Col. Alexandr Sivak, deputy chief of military academy.

"The growth of this support is confirmed by the unprecedented scale of this exercise, which is conducted not only at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre, but is also united with powerful European training centers during the distributed command post exercise," he said. "Our exercise has attracted the attention not only of military experts but the whole Ukrainian society and the international community - all those who are sincerely worried about the restoration of peace and territorial integrity of our state, establishment of effective mechanisms, and guarantees for the inviolability of the principles of peaceful coexistence in the modern world."

In preparation for the field training exercise, training audiences will undergo one week of situational training exercises, which focus on exercise key tasks such as medical and casualty evacuation procedures, countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations and patrolling. The exercise will feature a combined, internationally-staffed brigade focused on peacekeeping and stability operations.

Upon conclusion of the opening ceremony, the service members of the 18 different nations dispersed to reform into four new multi-national battalions to function and execute their exercise taskings as one cohesive force.

---

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.