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Iran Press TV

Russia 'conducting drill in Crimea' amid tensions with Kiev

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:21AM

Russian military forces are engaged in naval and logistical exercises in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

"The logistic support units embarked on working out the practical tasks of logistics support in the naval and land ranges of the Republic of Crimea," Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov announced on Friday.

He said Russian vessels conducted service recovery tasks at sea, and the Southern Military District's logistics units evacuated equipment from the battlefield, transported military equipment and performed mass jet refueling missions at the Opuk range.

Meanwhile Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he would not hesitate to announce the mobilization of Ukrainian army forces in response to what he described as military build-up by Russia in Crimea.

"In the event of the exacerbation of the situation in the east and in Crimea… we will have to impose martial law and order mobilization," Poroshenko said on Thursday.

Poroshenko also said he had ordered all Ukrainian army units near Crimea and in the eastern Donbass region to stand at the highest level of combat readiness.

Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have flared in recent days. Russia's Federal Security Service said on Wednesday that it had thwarted an incursion by the Ukrainian military into Crimea over the weekend, but two Russians were killed in the incident.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for "practicing terror" and vowed to retaliate the deaths. Putin met with his security council to discuss "antiterrorist security scenarios" involving Crimea's borders.

Ukrainian officials, however, denied the allegations and accused Russia of creating an excuse for further "intervention."

People in Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted in a referendum to join the Russian Federation in March 2014. The move angered the West and the Ukrainian government, which branded it as Moscow's annexation of the territory.

The Crimea referendum came almost at the same as the Ukrainian government engaged in a crackdown on the Russian-speaking people in the eastern Donbass region, who later took up arms to defend themselves.

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