This is a recurring disinformation narrative claiming the West is using Ukraine as a tool for military confrontation against Russia. In reality, cooperation between Ukraine and the West is multifaceted and not limited to military issues alone.
Kyiv and the European Union signed the Association Agreement in 2014, which paved the way for more comprehensive bilateral interaction in many spheres. This agreement is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, promoting deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values. Ukraine receives financial aid from the West to stabilise its economy and help it overcome corruption.
Ukraine indeed cooperates with the West in the military sphere. Kyiv established relations with NATO in the early 1990s. Since 2014, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas. Ukrainian troops have been participating in Sea Breeze exercises since 1997. This year's games have been the largest since that time. However, this cooperation is only aimed at enhancing Ukraine's defence capabilities rather than doing harm to any country, including Russia. What Kyiv and its partners demand from Moscow is that it should stop backing its proxies in Donbas and pull out from all illegally occupied Ukrainian territories. Neither the European Union nor international organisations have recognised Russia’s occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbas.
Sea Breeze-2021 exercises were conducted after Russia’s huge military build-up along Ukraine’s border. Moscow had been groundlessly accusing Kyiv of provocations in Donbas, thus justifying the amassing of Russian troops in the region. These Russian military activities are posing a real threat to Ukraine and safety in the region. On the other hand, participants in the traditional annual Sea Breeze military exercises are striving to make the Black Sea region safer and more stable.
Contrary to reports by pro-Kremlin outlets, NATO does not smuggle any military equipment to Ukraine under the guise of military exercises. Ukraine receives Western military aid legally and openly. Earlier this year, the United States announced a military aid package to Ukraine worth $125 million. Russia, on its side, clandestinely provides the Donbas separatists with military aid, of which there is plenty of documented evidence.
Read more disinformation narratives from pro-Kremlin outlets about NATO’s alleged provocative behaviour towards Moscow and the Alliance’s threat to stability along Russia’s borders.