09/04/2014 06:56 EDT | Updated 11/04/2014 05:59 EST

Ukraine peacekeeping exercise to include 13 Canadian soldiers

Canada will send 13 soldiers to Ukraine as part of an annual, U.S.-led peacekeeping exercise that begins next week, the Prime Minister's Office announced today.

The exercise, called Rapid Trident 14, will be held at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, Ukraine, from Sept. 11 to 28, the PMO said.

Although a regular event, the announcement of Canadian participation this year comes as NATO leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, meet in Wales to discuss responses to Russian actions in Ukraine and the continuing standoff between them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed Russia's opposition Thursday to Ukraine joining NATO as the alliance gathered for its summit.

The Pentagon said yesterday 200 U.S. soldiers will participate in the exercise. It would be the first presence of U.S. ground troops in Ukraine since the crisis with Russian-backed separatists began.

A Pentagon spokesman said the exercise will include convoy operations, patrolling and methods of countering improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

Countries participating in the exercise this month also include Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Spain, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, the PMO said.

About 1,200 soldiers will be involved.