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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hundreds of Troops Respond to a Mock Chemical Attack

APChemical experts decontaminating clothes during exercises at Yavoriv.
YAVORIV MILITARY TRAINING FACILITY, Ukraine -- Hundreds of troops and disaster relief teams from Ukraine, the United States and 10 other countries practiced responding to a chemical attack Thursday as a major NATO-sponsored anti-terrorism exercise drew to a close in western Ukraine.

The four-day drill, being held near Ukraine's border with NATO-member Poland, concluded with a mock terrorist attack on a chemical facility, gun battles with pretend terrorists and rescue operations.

Hosting the Joint Assistance 2005 maneuvers is Ukraine's latest effort in its bid to join NATO.

"This is an important step toward making our ties with Europe even closer, particularly in combating such a serious threat as terrorism and the use of chemical weapons," said Major General Volodymyr Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine's security service.

The exercises involved 12 countries and 30 observer nations, and included a major deployment of field hospitals, rescue equipment and armored vehicles.

NATO Assistant Deputy Secretary-General Maurits Jochems, who was the highest-ranking NATO official to attend the exercises, said such multinational maneuvers would help bring Ukraine closer to NATO.

NATO has stepped up cooperation with Ukraine, but has refused to speculate when it might be considered for membership. A NATO delegation headed by Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is expected in Ukraine next week.