Russia announces end of maneuvers near Ukraine and in the South


For more than a month, Moscow has been accused by the West of having massed tens of thousands of soldiers near the Ukrainian border, with a view to a possible military intervention against Kiev.

More than 10,000 Russian soldiers have returned to their bases after month-long exercises in southern Russia, especially near the Ukrainian border at the heart of heightened tensions, Moscow said on Saturday.

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The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that these maneuvers « combat trainingTook place on several military sites in the Russian regions of Volgograd, Rostov, Krasnodar, and annexed Crimea, areas in the immediate vicinity of Ukraine. The ministry specifies that exercises also took place in Russian territories further from the Ukrainian border, in the regions of Stavoropol, Astrakhan, the North Caucasus, but also in Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In its press release, the Russian army does not specify in which bases these troops were redeployed. « In order to ensure a high state of alert during the end of year celebrations on the military sites of the South Military District, guard units, reinforcements and forces will be assigned to deal with possible emergency situations.», She added.

Moscow denies any bellicose intent

For more than a month, Russia has been accused by the West of having massed tens of thousands of soldiers near the Ukrainian border, with a view to a possible military intervention against Kiev. Moscow denies any belligerent intention and claims to be threatened by « provocationsOf Kiev and NATO, and demands that the Alliance undertake not to expand into the former USSR. These demands are to be addressed in Russian-US negotiations in January.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow have already been very strained since Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula and the start of a war between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the east.

In an interview with AFP on Friday, the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, however played down the risk of an imminent escalation. According to him, the number of Russian troops around Ukraine has increased only slightly, from 93,000 in October, to around 104,000 today.

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