Army

UK Troops Make History With First Parachute Jump Into Ukraine

Hundreds of soldiers parachuted into southern Ukraine ahead of Exercise Joint Endeavour.

British soldiers have parachuted into southern Ukraine for the first time ahead of Exercise Joint Endeavour.

The 250 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade parachuted into the country from 600ft, using a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft which had flown from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

The troops dropped into the Ternivsky training area, where they teamed up with thousands of Ukrainian personnel.

Captain Harjot Singh Gill, 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: "We all bring something to this exercise – the Ukrainians bring their resolve and courage and we bring our constantly changing tactics and processes.

"Our shared values and the airborne nature of our units brings us closer together."

The UK force also has personnel from the Royal Engineers, Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Signals, The Parachute Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps and The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

The soldiers made history by jumping into southern Ukraine for the first time (Picture: MOD).

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said: "Our participation is an important affirmation of our commitment to our defence relationship with Ukraine, our partners in the Black Sea, and our ability to project highly capable troops forward anywhere, and any time, they're needed."

Exercise Joint Endeavour starts on 22 September and will involve up to 8,000 personnel, including troops from the USA and Canada.

It is the first multinational exercise in Ukraine since the country achieved NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status in June.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) said the defence relationship between the United Kingdom and Ukraine has been strong in recent years, with British troops having trained more than 18,000 members of Ukraine's armed forces as part of Operation Orbital.

The operation was established in 2015, a year after Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia.

The MOD said the operation is "a demonstration of the UK's unwavering commitment to Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty".

Last month, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the UK would lead a multi-national Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy.

Cover image: Soldier from 16 Air Assault Brigade jumping into Ukraine for Exercise Joint Endeavour (Picture: MOD).