His Excellency Andriy Taran, Minister of Defence for Ukraine, was welcomed to London with some familiar music during a Guard of Honour on Horse Guards Parade prior to a top-level meeting with the UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.
The socially distanced Guard of Honour was provided by Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards, the Public Duties Incremental Company most usually seen as the Queen’s Guards outside the Royal palaces in London and Windsor.
The Captain of the Guard invited His Excellency Andriy Taran to inspect the Guard in fluent Ukrainian – it is a courtesy that the invitation is always made in the language of the visiting dignitary.
Throughout the iconic ceremony the Band of the Irish Guards, their bearskins bearing the blue plume of St Patrick, uniquely included a special piece of music for the inspection, “Majestic”, which had been gifted to the band by Colonel Oleg Gorman of the National Army Academy in Lviv. Musicians from the British Army Bands formed part of a Short Term Training Team deployed to Ukraine in 2016 and the friendships formed have been long lasting. This music was a tribute to that friendship.
After the ceremonial inspection Andriy Taran accompanied Ben Wallace to the Ministry of Defence to discuss their nation’s mutual defence and security interests including the success of a recent large-scale joint exercise held two weeks ago in Ukraine.
Exercise Joint Endeavour saw several members of the Guards Parachute Platoon among the 250 UK and 200 Ukrainian Airborne Forces to parachute into Ukraine together strengthening their cooperation.
They then joined thousands of Ukrainian and UK ground forces, the latter from the 16 Air Assault Brigade Battle Group, their joint training ensuring maximum compatibility of armed forces and assets from both nations. The MOD said: “the exercise has provided vital experience of deploying rapidly from air to land to counter threats and tested our abilities to project highly capable troops forward anytime, anywhere they’re needed.”