20/10/2014 12:06
RIA Novosti

Military & Intelligence

Russian Paratroopers Hold Massive Drills as Crimea Vote Nears

Topic: Crimea’s Fate

Russian airborn troops
17:44 11/03/2014
Tags: Defense Ministry, Crimea, Ukraine, Russia

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) – An airborne division based in central Russia began large-scale exercises Tuesday against the backdrop of an ongoing political and security crisis in Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry said units of the 98th Guards Airborne Division, based in Ivanovo, a city east of Moscow, were put on high alert and moved to unspecified locations to “check readiness” in simulated combat conditions.

Four thousand troops, 36 military transport aircraft and an unspecified number of combat vehicles are taking part in the exercises, which will run until March 14.

The drills will include a massive simultaneous paradrop involving 3,500 servicemen, the ministry said.

The drills come in the wake of a number of military exercises in Russia’s western regions in the past days, including air defense drills, combat readiness snap checks and a launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Russia says the exercises are not linked to the development in Crimea.

The turbulent political crisis gripping Ukraine has led to a standoff between Russia and the West over the fate of Crimea, an autonomous Ukrainian region with a narrow ethnic Russian majority.

Crimean authorities have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new central government in Kiev, which was installed after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in late February.

Local officials announced last week that they intended for the peninsula to become part of Russia.

A referendum on the issue has been set for March 16. Authorities in Kiev and international leaders have condemned the referendum as illegitimate.

Ukraine has lost control over Crimea in recent days as thousands of heavily armed troops without insignia and traveling in military vehicles with Russian plates swarmed the area, taking control of administration buildings and taking over military bases.

The Kremlin has denied the troops are Russian and has instead described them as “local militias.”

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RIA NovostiRussian airborn troopsRussian Paratroopers Hold Massive Drills as Crimea Vote Nears

17:44 11/03/2014 An airborne division based in central Russia began large-scale exercises Tuesday against the backdrop of an ongoing political and security crisis in Ukraine.>>

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  • Mikhail1228Cossacks
    00:43, 12/03/2014
    Cossacks serve only sovereign Great Russia along with every other Cossack host whether they be Don, Kuban,Kalmyk and so on. Not one Cossack host will ever fight for Ukraine. The Cossacks living in eastern Ukraine are loyal only to Russia and will fight for her alone. They sent militias to fight alongside the Russian forces during the Georgian war and they even killed Ukrainians fighting as mercenaries for Georgia. Most Cossacks living in Ukraine wish to enter the Cossack units in the Russian army like the Kuban Cossacks do. Cossacks living in Ukraine will even fight against Ukraine if Russia asked them to.
    • VECTRONSo its War already?
      19:47, 12/03/2014
      I'm sorry Mikhail1228, but you've turned an 'Exercise' into a War already.
      Reply | Comments: 4Expand branch
    • RabbitnexusA little fib maybe.
      10:16, 13/03/2014
      Given Russia's crediibility in general after these last few years, I suppose we can forgive a little fib like this: "Russia says the exercises are not linked to the development in Crimea." Of course it isn't linked. ;-)
      • VECTRONConfusion clarified?
        18:51, 13/03/2014
        I take it you are being facetious?
        Reply | Comments: 1Expand branch

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