In the Russian Western Military District, exercises with the participation of about three thousand soldiers have started at the training grounds in the Voronezh, Belgorod, Bryansk and Smolensk oblasts, reported the Russian agency Interfax, referring to the Western Military District. The first three oblasts have a direct border with Ukraine, the fourth one is located approximately 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
The Russian agency Interfax informed about the commencement of the exercises, citing the press service of the Western Military District.
About 300 units of military equipment are involved in the maneuvers, including T-72B3 tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and standard small arms, Interfax reported. The soldiers will practice “combat coordination of various formations” and learn “new methods and tactics of performing fire missions in a complex environment” – added the agency.
According to Interfax, military exercises began at the training grounds in the Voronezh, Biełgród, Bryansk and Smolensk oblasts. The first three oblasts border Ukraine, the fourth one is located approximately 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
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Tens of thousands of soldiers near the border
According to American intelligence and reports from the authorities in Kiev, Russia has amassed tens of thousands of soldiers near the Ukrainian borders and there is a risk that it could launch an offensive in Ukraine.
Earlier, the American newspaper “New York Times” wrote that Russia began to deploy military helicopters near the Ukrainian border. According to the newspaper, this may be a signal that preparations are underway for a possible attack on Ukraine.
At the same time, Russia, in response to the West’s appeals to de-escalate the situation, presented a list of proposals for “security guarantees”. They concern, inter alia, the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine, as well as another post-Soviet republic, Georgia. Moscow does not agree to post-Soviet countries becoming members of the North Atlantic Alliance, and it is also opposed to the creation of US military bases on the territory of former USSR states that are not NATO members.
Russia’s claims, presented in December last year, also concern “using the infrastructure of non-NATO countries to conduct any military activity” and developing military cooperation with these countries, namely Ukraine and Georgia.
US talks with Russia in Geneva
The United States, among others, responded to these demands. – We will not compromise on the principles on which European security is built – replied White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
READ ALSO: White House: Russians have the potential to de-escalate >>>
On Monday, representatives of Russia and the United States held the first round of talks in Geneva on, inter alia, the situation around Ukraine. The RIA Novosti agency, citing sources in Russian diplomacy, said that “Washington does not want to discuss the issue of Ukraine’s possible membership of NATO without Kiev’s participation”.
The Monday meeting of the delegations of both countries gave rise to a series of meetings between representatives of the USA, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia.
Interfax, Ukrainian Pravda, PAP
Main photo source: mil.ru