Posted by Curt on 26 February, 2014 at 6:16 pm. 3 comments already!


Daily Mail:

Vladimir Putin mobilised more than 150,000 troops and an armada of ships yesterday for a drill to test the combat readiness of forces in western Russia as tensions over Ukraine continue to grow.

In addition to the soldiers – nearly twice the British Army’s manpower after planned cuts – 880 tanks, 210 aircraft and 80 warships will take part in the operation.

The manoeuvres raised fears that the Russian president may be planning to send forces into Ukraine after the toppling of its Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said unspecified measures were also being taken to protect the country’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, southern Ukraine.

He claimed the operation was not linked to the crisis in Ukraine, insisting it was intended to ‘check the troops’ readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security’.

The drill comes 48 hours after Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country’s interests and citizens in Ukraine were under threat in language that echoed his statements justifying Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 when he was president.

The US and EU nations have warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Mr Putin wants to be part of a Eurasian union he is creating. The crisis began three months ago after Mr Yanukovych ditched closer ties with the EU in favour of Mr Putin’s scheme.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who is overseeing the reduction of the Army to around half the size of the Russian mobilisation, said yesterday: ‘We will obviously want to take proper cognizance of any activities by Russian forces. We urge all parties to allow the Ukrainian people to settle internal differences and determine their future without external interference.’

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