YAVORIV, Ukraine (Sept. 23, 2015) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited here, Sept. 21, to commence a joint civil-emergency exercise highlighting the partnership between NATO and Ukraine.
The four-day exercise involves 34 NATO and partner nations with approximately 1,100 participants and shows Ukraine's commitment to its European partners.
"By hosting this exercise you are showing that Ukraine wants to contribute to the safety of the European people and to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area," said Stoltenberg during his speech to the participants of the exercise.
During their visit here, the two leaders took the opportunity to eat lunch with paratroopers, assigned to the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade. The paratroopers are in Ukraine conducting the third rotation to train Ukraine's newly-formed national guard as part of Exercise Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last through November.
This is Poreshenko's second visit to the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here since April 20, when he conducted a ceremony to mark the start of Fearless Guardian.
Fearless Guardian involves approximately 300 paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, training Ukraine's newly formed national guard under the congressionally-approved Global Contingency Security Fund - Ukraine.
It was announced by the U.S. Department of State in July that the United States will continue training Ukrainian security forces this fall in western Ukraine. The second phase of Fearless Guardian will train up to five battalions of Ministry of Defense personnel currently scheduled to begin in November.
The training is part of the ongoing efforts to contribute to Ukraine's long-term military reform and professionalism and to help improve Ukraine's internal defense capabilities and training capacity.
Planning for Fearless Guardian II currently is ongoing, but it will be very similar to the training currently being provided to the national guard.