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In the Russia-Ukraine confrontation, both sides organize combat exercises

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  • Russia conducts exercises in the Black Sea, Ukraine near Belarus
  • Moscow: Conventional nuclear forces must be ready for combat
  • The Russian site posts videos of tank movements

MOSCOW / KYIV, November 24 (Reuters) – (This November 24 story corrects the title of Estonian Prime Minister in paragraph 6)

Russia held military exercises in the Black Sea, in southern Ukraine, on Wednesday and said it needed to sharpen the combat readiness of its conventional and nuclear forces due to increased NATO activity near its borders.

Ukraine, which says it believes Russia may be preparing for an invasion, held its drill near the border with Belarus. read more An independent Russian investigative team posted photos and videos saying they showed movements of tanks and other military vehicles in southern Russia in recent days.

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The rise in military activity on both sides follows weeks of growing tensions that have increased the risk of war between the two former Soviet neighbors, although Russia denies the aggressive intent and Western intelligence sources have told Reuters they do not see any invasion as close. Read more

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but the United States and the alliance have signaled their support for Kiev in ways that Moscow finds provocative, including this month’s maneuvers of warships in the Black Sea and the deployment of US patrol boats to the navy. Ukrainian.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Reuters it would be “a grave mistake by Russia” to attack Ukraine. Read more

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the European Union should make it clear to Russia that it would have a high price to pay if it acts against Ukraine, urging the EU to quickly agree on how to prevent Moscow. Read more

In Wednesday’s exercises in the Black Sea, Russian planes and warships practiced repelling air strikes at naval bases and responding with air strikes, Interfax reported.

Separately, the news agency quoted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying that the need for Russia to further develop its armed forces was dictated by “the complex military and political conditions in the world and the growing activity of nearby NATO countries.” Russia ‘s borders. “

He said building the capabilities of the armed forces, supporting the combat readiness of nuclear forces and strengthening the potential of non-nuclear prevention are among the priorities.

Shoigu complained on Tuesday that U.S. bombers had repeated a nuclear attack on Russia from two different directions earlier this month and that the planes had come too close to the Russian border. The Pentagon said the drills complied with international protocols.

“SPECIAL OPERATIONS” Ukrainians

Ukraine, which has leaned toward the West since a popular uprising ousted a pro-Russian president in 2014, on Wednesday held what it called a “special operation” on the border with Belarus, including drone drills and military anti-tank drills. and air. units.

It has deployed an additional 8,500 troops on its border with Belarus, saying it fears it will pull into an immigrant crisis, which has prompted the European Union to accuse Minsk of flying with people from the Middle East and pushing them to enter neighboring Poland. Belarus denies fomenting crisis Read more

Kiev also worries that the border with Belarus, a close Russian ally, could be used by Moscow to stage a military strike.

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence told the Military Times last weekend that Russia had more than 92,000 troops gathered around Ukraine’s borders and was preparing for an attack by the end of January or early February.

Moscow has dismissed suggestions such as incitement, saying it was not threatening anyone and defended its right to deploy its troops as it wished.

The Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent Russian investigative team, posted videos and photos on its website showing the movements of tanks, infantry and obus this month near Voronezh, about 190 km (120 miles) from the Ukrainian border. , and a new concentration of army vehicles on a training ground south of the city.

He also posted what he said was video evidence of military trains carrying infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers in the past two days in Valuyki, 23km from the Ukrainian border.

The group said Russian troops had also arrived in Crimea, the Russian-occupied peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

He said his assessment was that Russian troops would be ready for possible operations inside Ukraine no earlier than early next year.

Intelligence sources, diplomats and analysts have told Reuters that Moscow may be using the escalation as part of a broader strategy to put pressure on Europe, including supporting Belarus in the migrant crisis and comparing its impact. as the continent’s main supplier of gas to pressure for fast. regulatory approval of the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.

“It feels … more like another coercive lever that the Russians are amassing in this strategic situation in Eastern Europe,” said Samir Puri, senior associate in hybrid warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“It can only have value in this, instead of being followed by a full-scale invasion, which would be politically catastrophic for Putin.”

(This story corrects the title of Prime Minister of Estonia in paragraph 6)

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Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Written by Mark Trevelyan; Edited by Mark Heinrich

Our standards: Principles of Trust by Thomson Reuters.

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2/ https://www.reuters.com/world/russia-ukraine-both-step-up-military-alert-with-combat-drills-2021-11-24/

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