From September 14 through September 22, Ukraine hosted the NATO-sponsored exercise Peace Shield-98 at the Yavoriv training base in Lviv region. This year’s exercise involved, for the first time, only staff officers and computers rather than actual troops. Approximately 1,000 officers from sixteen NATO member and partner countries participated. The exercise simulated an ethnic conflict supported from outside which escalates into military hostilities between two neighboring countries. A Ukrainian Army colonel and a U.S. Army colonel jointly commanded the exercise. The United States financed the exercise and also supplied the computers. Russia sent only observers.
Simultaneously with Peace Shield-98, but technically separate from it, the joint Polish-Ukrainian battalion conducted combat drills at Yavoriv.
Ukraine has hosted several NATO exercises at Yavoriv in the last two years. NATO has reportedly spent US$8 million to upgrade the training base. During this year’s exercise, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk proposed that NATO use the base more frequently under some special military and financial arrangements with Ukraine (Ukrainian agencies, September 14-22).–VS
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