Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

Russia news: Putin sends THOUSANDS of troops to Crimea in show of strength to NATO | World | News

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 sparked international outrage as Putin sought to control the region and expand Russia’s sphere of influence. The disputed territory then voted overwhelmingly to join Moscow in a referendum, but the US and its allies contested the vote. Since then, Putin has flexed his military might in the crucial region on numerous occasions – but the latest military drill represents one of the largest in the area in recent times.

Large scale command and staff drills kicked off today in exercises that involved over 8,000 troops.

Soldiers practised ‘multi-service force groupings’ with the sole intention of securing Russia’s southern borders.

In a series of exercises that will last five days, troops will also look to practice border security in Crimea, much to Washington’s dismay.

The colossal drills will also employ 100 tanks, 30 aircraft and 60 helicopters.

A military spokesperson said: “The combat training measures involve large units and military formations of three integrated combined arms forces.

“Up to 8,200 troops will practice tactical episodes of force-on-force command and staff drills employing more than 2,500 items of military hardware.

“During their deployment, the servicemen practised repelling attacks of a notional enemy’s subversive groups and overcoming sections of contaminated terrain.”

It is not the first time Putin has deployed his troops to Crimea – last month saw 100 military aircraft dominate the skies above the disputed region as they carried out drills.

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“But what have we got?”

Mr Orth added: “It is precisely this vacuum that made the reacquisition of Crimea so emotional for many Russians.

“After March of 2014, Putin’s approval rating skyrocketed, as did the sales figures of ‘Our Crimea’ fridge magnets.”

He added that it was, for many, the nation’s proudest moment for well over a quarter of a century.

Putin may also have sent a harrowing warning to Washington as his troops practised delivering a missile strike against a mock enemy.

“The command of the missile formation will be making decisions at the designated positioning area on delivering a massive missile strike against the notional enemy’s command posts and other strategically important installations.”

Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets launched air-to-air missiles to strike a notional enemy, according to the military’s press office.

A statement read: “During combat training flights, the pilots successfully complied with the procedures within the required time limits for scrambling aircraft to intercept and destroy a notional enemy’s air targets and practiced a set of measures to search for, detect and destroy aerial flare targets by air-to-air missiles.”

In a move that may further aggravate NATO, the drills will also involve 10 warships in addition to vessels already used by the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla.

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