World / Europe

Ukraine to hold military drills with NATO, EU

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-01 19:11

KIEV - The Ukrainian parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to conduct joint military drills with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) partners.

With at least 226 votes needed to approve the bill, 235 lawmakers supported the legislation submitted by acting President Alexandr Turchynov.

The multinational exercises, which are scheduled to last from May to November this year, will involve around 2,500 troops from Ukraine and the same number of military personnel from the partner countries.

"The maneuver is aimed at preparing for participation in international peacekeeping, security, humanitarian and search operations on land and water, and in activities to protect our country," acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval told the parliament.

The land phase of the drills will be held at a military training areas in Lvov and Zakarpattya regions in western Ukraine, while the sea drills will take place in the Black Sea waters at the southern Nikolayev region near the disputed Crimean Peninsula.

In March, Crimean leaders signed a treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the peninsula' s accession to Russia.

Kiev does not accept Crimea's integration into Russia, considering it an "attempt to annex the Ukrainian territory."

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