Russia and Ukraine were reported to have carried out simultaneous military drills on Wednesday as the foreign and defense ministers of NATO express their growing concern regarding the increasing presence of Russian forces near the contested Ukrainian border.
The eastern region of Ukraine has been plagued by sporadic clashes between the pro-Western Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed fighters.
The military exercises came after Russia was reported to have been assembling Russian troop buildup on Ukraine’s disputed eastern zone, as well as in the Russian-annexed Crimea.
Crimea has been annexed by Russia in 2014, which resulted from a stalemate between the two countries. However, the shelling and military forces still occurred regularly, including the increasing violence in eastern Ukraine in the spring of 2018.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the country’s increasing military presence is part of its three-week unscheduled drills, aiming to assess the combat readiness in response to the threatening behavior from NATO.
Russia also claimed that the arrival of two U.S. warships in the Black Sea this week signified an unfriendly provocation and warned the powerful American nation to steer clear from Crimea and its Black Sea coast.
Russia’s military exercises came a day after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged the country’s government to end the military forces build-up.
In Ukraine, its military forces were rehearsing how to repel infantry and tank attacks near the contested Crimean peninsula as Ukrainian Defense Minister Andrii Taran claimed that Russia was preparing to potentially store nuclear weapons in the Russian-annexed peninsula.
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