Russian forces hold military drills in breakaway statelet near Ukraine


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian forces in the breakaway Moldovan area of Transdniestria that borders Ukraine held military drills to follow covert actions and firing grenade launchers, Russia’s Ministry of Defence stated on Tuesday.

The drills happened in opposition to the backdrop of a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine and a surge of military exercise that has put the West on edge and stirred fears Moscow plans to assault. Russia denies any such plan.

The focus of these issues are deployments in Western Russia, annexed Crimea and Belarus the place Moscow and Minsk plan to hold joint drills. Kyiv has additionally raised issues over Transdniestria the place Russia has greater than 1,000 troops and peacekeepers.

Ukrainian military intelligence accused Russian safety companies final month of readying some type of unspecified “provocation” in opposition to Russian servicemen in the area that may permit Moscow to stage accusations at Ukraine.

Russia denies any threatening behaviour.

On Tuesday, it stated its contingent often called the Operational Group of Russian Forces practiced firing at targets that imitated advancing infantry and {hardware}. The forces additionally practiced taking on firing positions, it stated.

The Operational Group contains round 450 peacekeepers in addition to round 500-750 troopers guarding an ammunition depot.

Russian peacekeepers appeared in the separatist area of Transdniestria after it fought a quick conflict with Moldova in 1992 and declared itself an unbiased state. It stays unrecognised by any nation, together with Russia.

The Russian-speakers of Transdniestria nominally seceded from Moldova in 1990, one yr earlier than the dissolution of the Soviet Union, fearing the nation would possibly shortly merge with Romania, whose language and tradition it broadly shares.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Alexander Tanas; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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