YAVORIV, Ukraine - Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine; Col. David Jordan, commander of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine program; and other Ukrainian dignitaries came together to formally open Exercise Rapid Trident 17 in Yavoriv, Ukraine, Sept. 11, 2017.

"I'm so pleased to be able to join you for the opening ceremony for Exercise Rapid Trident 17," the U.S. Ambassador expressed to the multinational Soldiers standing shoulder-to-shoulder in formation.

"This is an important occasion for Ukraine, but also Ukraine's partners. Military forces spanning continents and oceans, stand in solidarity with Ukraine, for Ukrainian security, Ukrainian sovereignty and for Ukrainian territorial integrity," she added.

Ensuring that Ukraine's security, sovereignty and territorial integrity are upheld, Rapid Trident 17 is a planned, annually reoccurring training exercise, which aligns within the JMTG-U program's training cycle designed to enhance joint and combined interoperability amongst partner militaries of Ukraine, other Partnership for Peace nations, the United States and its NATO Allies.

During the Ukrainian-led training exercise, that incorporates 11 Allied nations and 3 partner countries that are comprised of approximately 1,800 multinational service members, each nation will execute a full range of defensive training operations to support the validation training for units participating in the JMTG-U program.

"Rapid Trident 17 is a multinational exercise that involves 14 different nations," said Jordan. "During this exercise, we will stress every level of command from the platoon level through the brigade level with computer simulated exercises, situational training lanes and ultimately culminating with a force-on-force field training exercise."

These combined training opportunities scheduled during Rapid Trident 17 greatly enhance professional relationships, contribute to the security of the Black Sea region and Europe as a whole and highlight the commitment to deter any real or potential aggression. Developing combined standard operating procedures on a variety of different platforms helps all participating Armies think through and mitigate problems in real-world training scenarios, and continues to improve combat readiness for each nation as a collective force.

This multinational training exercise is an example of continued U.S. engagements promoting stability. Rapid Trident 17 also provides the United States, NATO member nations and other Partnership for Peace nations, participating in the exercise, an opportunity to engage in continued relations and common solutions to promote security.

"The United States and Ukraine have had a professional relationship for over 25 years and anytime our forces can train alongside friendly military forces in an environment like this, it makes our Soldiers better; it makes their Soldiers better and ultimately the interoperability between our nations makes the region more stable," said Jordan.

During the opening ceremony, the U.S. commander also took a moment to discuss the benefits of conducting this mission in a training environment, and also expressed the advantages of overcoming tactical issues.

"Exercises like Rapid Trident gives us an opportunity to learn from our mistakes in a controlled environment," said Jordan. "Each nation has to take advantage of this opportunity, focus on learning all they can and train hard. Because it is far better to learn from mistakes here, where they cost nothing, than on the battlefield, where mistakes cost lives."