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Russia to Hold Military Drills in Response to Ukraine Crackdown

April 25 2014, 10:03

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo:RIA Novosti.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo:RIA Novosti.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Thursday that Russian Army started to hold military drills in response to the developing situation in Ukraine’s southeast, reports citing interfax. ru.

“Starting today, exercises of battalion tactical groups from the Southern and Western military districts will begin near the borders with Ukraine," -Shoigu said.

The troops will hold marching rehearsals and exercise deployments for performing assigned tasks, the defense minister said. Shoigu also added that “aircraft will do fly-bys close to the state border.” According to Shoigu, the Ukrainian Army mobilized against peaceful citizens more than 11 thousand soldiers, about 160 tanks, over 230 infantry fighting vehicles and armored troop-carriers, about 150 cannons and mortar-guns and a large aviation fleet. 

“The forces are obviously unequal. If today we won’t stop this military machine, it will lead to a large number of victims and wounded. Military exercises declared by NATO on the territories of Poland and Baltic countries also don’t help to normalize the situation around Ukraine.  We are forced to react to such development of a situation” – said the Minister of Defence.

The Security Service of Ukraine announced Wednesday that the military operation launched by Ukrainian authorities earlier this month against protesters in eastern Ukraine had again entered an active phase, following a temporary suspension after an agreement reached in Geneva last week.

Ukrainian authorities launched a special operation to crack down on pro-federalization activists in eastern regions of the country that have been swept by rallies since last month.

To recall, on Thursday the situation in Slavyansk took a sharp turn and a gunfight broke out between unidentified gunmen and local federalists. The Ukrainian Internal Ministry reported about three destroyed road blocks and five fatalities as result of the crackdown.

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