Russian warplanes have launched low-level attacks on occupied Crimea, adding to fears of an amphibious assault on southern Ukraine.
Troops landed in an amphibious boat in the Opuk range of Crimea as part of exercises that, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, involved over 60 ships, around 200 aircraft, around 1,200 military vehicles and more than 10,000 soldiers.
Fighter jets covered an air operation involving more than 50 fighter jets that Russian officials said were focused on aircraft supporting warships hitting enemy ships.
Sergei Shoigu, Defense Minister under Russian President Vladimir Putin, flew a helicopter over Opuk to oversee the maneuvers.
They have been cited as the largest since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and threw their weight behind separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
What’s your point of view? Share your thoughts in the comment section
It came in fear of invasion after more than 115,000 Russian troops gathered near the Ukrainian border.
More troops were believed to have arrived today as the exercises continued throughout the day.
Mr. Shoigu said they would be withdrawn until May 1st.
He said, “I believe the rapid inspection objectives have been fully met.
“The troops have demonstrated their ability to provide a credible defense to the country.”
However, he warned that his troops would be ready to respond quickly to NATO military exercises in the region.
Meanwhile, the radar equipment is still rolling towards the border over Russia.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has warned that the Russian border presence “is expected to reach a combined force of over 120,000 soldiers in a few days”.
However, Moscow has rejected Ukraine and the West’s concerns about the reconstruction, saying it is free to deploy its armed forces anywhere in Russian territory.
The Kremlin also warned Ukraine against using force to regain control of the rebels’ east.
Concerns have been raised in the West over the rise in ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine.
Der Spiegel’s newsletter gives you the latest news, exciting showbiz and TV stories, sports updates and important political information.
The newsletter is sent every morning at 12 noon and first thing every evening by email.
Don’t miss a moment by signing up for our newsletter here.
Over 14,000 people were killed in seven years of fighting, with Russia claiming it may be forced to intervene to protect civilians.
Russia said last week it would close large areas of the Black Sea near Crimea to foreign naval and state ships by November, raising Western concerns and Ukrainian protests.
Fears of invasion increase as the war radar moves out of Siberia
USSIA was spotted moving a Kasta 2E2 mobile military radar system towards Ukraine, raising fears of an impending invasion.
The high-tech attacking aircraft tracking system will be shipped 4,600 miles from the TransBaikal region of Siberia to Crimea by train. It should arrive in 10 days.
Ukraine responded by changing the law to encourage reservists to act.
Videos also showed Ukraine moving BM-21 Grad 122mm rocket launchers and other wheeled hardware around Odessa.
Russia has given passports to more than half a million people in eastern Ukraine, giving Putin an excuse to invade in order to “protect” his citizens.