MORE than 200 Colchester-based paratroopers jumped into Ukraine for a joint exercise, as tensions continue between the eastern European country and Russia.

Some 250 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade dropped into the Ternivsky training area where they teamed up with thousands of Ukrainian troops.

The Ministry of Defence said the exercise built on the strong relationship developed between the two nations’ armed forces, which provides both countries with “vital experience of deploying rapidly from air to land to counter threats”.

Tensions continue between Russia and Ukraine following the former’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The conflict has killed more than 14,000 people.

The Colchester troops parachuted from 600ft from C-130 Hercules which had flown directly from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

As the UK’s global response force, the paras of 16 Air Assault Brigade are able to deploy worldwide at short notice.


Captain Harjot Singh Gill, from 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.

“This a welcomed opportunity and the hot weather just makes us realise that we are able to cope easily in all environments.”


The 250-strong UK force also made up of personnel from the Royal Engineers, Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Signals, the Parachute Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

It is now fully assembled on the ground in Ukraine for Exercise Joint Endeavour, which kicks off today.


The exercise, which will total up to 8,000 personnel and feature troops from the USA and Canada, is the first multinational exercise in Ukraine since the country achieved NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status in June.