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Russian Defense Ministry: Military Drills Held Far From Border With Ukraine

Sputnik News

21:29 28.05.2015(updated 21:48 28.05.2015)

Russia's Defense Ministry refuted the statement made by the NATO chief that Russia had allegedly used military drills in order to hide the shift of troops to Ukraine.

Defense Ministry said that training ranges, where the Russian armed forces are holding military exercises, are hundreds of kilometers away from the border with Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed Wednesday that he believed that Russia was using its military exercises to conceal the transfer of troops to Ukraine.

'We should yet again explain to our partners in Brussels and Washington that the training range 'Ashuluk' and 'Kapustin Yar', where the drills are held, are almost 800 kilometers away from the southeast of Ukraine. While 'Pemba' training ground is located in northern Russia, almost three thousand kilometers away from Donetsk', Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters Thursday.

On Monday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that Russia had notified the members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe about its military drills in the country's Central Military District.

Since the start of the government forces' military assault on eastern Ukraine's independence supporters in April 2014, Kiev and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of intervening in the Ukrainian crisis. The accusations went as far as to claim that Moscow sent troops and weapons to help the independence militias.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin has dismissed the claims as not corroborated by any evidence. Moscow does not deny, however, that some Russian nationals are fighting in Donbass as volunteers.


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