Russia has threatened to send more troops to Crimea, after NATO began exercises in western Ukraine while Kiev's forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east.
This is reported by Moscow Times today.
According to the news agency TASS, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said yesterday that the tensions in Ukraine and the presence of foreign military near Russia's borders made the deployment of troops a top priority in Crimea.
A sign of commitment
"The situation in Ukraine has escalated sharply and the presence of foreign military has increased in the immediate vicinity of our borders," the news agency quoted Shoigu.
NATO’s Rapid Trident exercices will last until September 26, and involve more that 1000 troops from the U.S and its allies.
Moscow warned that the exercises threatened the fragile ceasfire and the peace efforts in eastern Ukraine, and sees the exercices as a sign of the alliance’s commitment to support nonmember Ukraina.
Delivering arms to Ukraine
According to the U.S. European Command the exercises in Ukraine will involve about 200 U.S. personnel and 1100 from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain.
The exercises will include command post drills, patrolling and dealing with improvised explosive devices, and the main focus is said to be on peacekeeping.
Earlier this month a senior Ukrainian official said Kiev had agreed on the provision of weapons and military advisers from several members of the U.S.-led alliance. Four of the five countries named, including the U.S., denied this.