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Russia launched, on Tuesday, new military maneuvers not far from Ukraine and in annexed Crimea. The announced exercises involve some 6,000 men, fighter jets and bombers.
As NATO member countries feared, Russia has launched a new series of military maneuvers near Ukraine and in annexed Crimea, Russian agencies announced on Tuesday 25 January. A few hours earlier, Moscow had accused the United States of “exacerbating” tensions by putting thousands of American soldiers on alert.
The announced Russian exercises involve some 6,000 troops, fighter jets and bombers. They take place in southern Russia, particularly near Ukraine, and in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014.
It is a “joint” operation which notably involves “the air force and anti-aircraft, groups of ships from the Black Sea and Caspian fleets”, explained the commander of the Russian forces for the South of Russia, Alexandre Dvornikov.
Moscow, which has deployed tens of thousands of troops in recent months near Ukraine, also announced last week naval maneuvers in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean as well as joint exercises with Belarus, on the borders of the European Union.
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Washington accused of “exacerbating” tensions
At midday on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was “greatly concerned” after the United States put 8,500 troops on Monday alert, which could reinforce the Rapid Reaction Force of NATO of 40,000 soldiers. The decision to deploy them has not been taken.
For Dmitri Peskov, Washington is causing a new “exacerbation of tensions”, as the day before with the announcement of the departure of the families of American diplomats from Ukraine because of the imminent risk, according to the United States, of a Russian invasion.
Kiev, for its part, must receive a new delivery from the United States on Tuesday, including “equipment and ammunition”, according to the American embassy, specifying that it was part of the 200 million dollars in assistance granted by the White House.
The Ukrainian authorities have claimed for their part to have dismantled a group preparing, on the orders of Moscow, armed attacks to “destabilize” regions of the country, in particular on the Russian border.
NATO has announced that it is placing forces on standby and sending ships and combat aircraft to strengthen its defenses in Eastern Europe, while Russia considers Alliance troops in its neighborhood as an existential threat.